Wildfires can burn hundreds or even thousands of acres and involve hundreds of firefighters and many pieces of equipment. Each year, the Forest Fire Service responds to over 1,500 wildfires throughout New Jersey. Many of these fires threaten homes in the wildland/urban interface of the Pine Barrens, the coastal marshes along the shoreline, or on top of a ridge in the mountains of North Jersey.
No matter what the size, habitat type or location, our goal is to stop the spread of the fire by constructing a “control line” around the perimeter of the fire in order to prevent its spread. This may be done by using a hand tools to dig down to the dirt, by using a bulldozer or tractor-plow unit to expose the soil, or by extinguishing the fire with water from a hoseline. The fire is not declared out until 24 hours after the last smoke is extinguished.
As a result of our early detection system and quick response time, most wildfires within the state are kept small, however, on occasion large fires do occur. The primary factor that influences how a wildfire grows is the weather. Wind, higher temperatures and low relative humidity when combined with the flammable wildland fuels found in New Jersey create perfect conditions for the ignition and spread of a large wildfire.
To be able to respond quickly to this threat, the Forest Fire Service has a full time staff that trains and equips nearly 1,800 on call, part-time wildland firefighters. We also maintain a fleet of over 400 vehicles that includes specially designed brushtrucks, bulldozers, helicopters and planes. Wildland firefighting is hard and often dangerous work. Whether it is by air or land; with equipment or crews working with hand tools (or a combination of all resources); the Forest Fire Service is ready to respond to all wildfire challenges in New Jersey.
Please note New Jersey's wildfire history by clicking the link above. This is an interactive PDF that allows users to query wildfire start dates, causes, size, and municipality or county demographic data. To query this PDF, please click the link above, right click, and save the PDF to your computer. After opening the saved PDF, the PDF can now be queried by using the "Object Data Tool" under "Tools." It can also be queried by using the "Layers" and "Model Tree" navigational panels on the left of Adobe Reader to investigate the data