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Contact: Kathleen Sandt, 570 426-2429
BUSHKILL, PA: 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 528 acres of grasses, shrubs, and woodlands in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, the planned burn locations, totaling about 234 acres, include several tracts of land along River Road and just south of Route 206 near Milford. The planned burn sites in New Jersey, about 294 acres overall, include tracts along Mountain Road near Flatbrookville and potentially Minisink Island.
Depending on favorable weather conditions, the first burns, planned for the New Jersey sites, could start next week.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 only 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.