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Contact: Cliff Lively, 570-588-1845
Contact: Kathleen Sandt, 570-426-2472 (O), 570-234-9144 (C)
Superintendent John J. Donahue has announced that Delaware Water Gap National Recreation is planning a series of prescribed burns in the coming weeks. The areas to be burned involve approximately 600 acres of grasses, shrubs, and woodlands in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, the planned burn locations, totaling about 150 acres, include several tracts of land south of Route 206 near Milford, Loch Lomond and along River Road. The planned burn sites in New Jersey, about 450 acres overall, include several tracts along Mountain Road near Walpack, and at Chado and Rosenkrans Farms.
Depending on favorable weather and site conditions, the first burns could start tomorrow. Because certain prescription parameters must be met (including wind speed, relative humidity, fuel moisture, and drought index), it is not possible to precisely schedule prescribed fires in advance. Roads, visitor use facilities, and hiking trails may be temporarily closed while burns are underway.
Prescribed fire is an approved tool for natural resource management throughout the National Park System and is part of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area’s fire management program. The primary objectives of the prescribed fire program are: restoration and perpetuation of scenic and cultural landscapes, including native plant species; reduction of wildland fuel loading; and enhancement of wildlife habitat.
Prescribed fire is often more effective than either manual or mechanical removal of fuels. Air quality and smoke impacts will be monitored and relatively small areas will be burned in order to keep smoke to a minimum. A minimum of six firefighters and one fire engine will be on hand throughout the period while the fire burns and will patrol the area until the burn is declared out. Assistance may be provided by firefighters from other National Park Service units, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, and The Nature Conservancy.
Copies of the prescribed fire plan are available to the public and may be obtained by contacting the Chief Ranger’s Office at 570-426-2414.