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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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September 13, 2005

Contact: Elaine Makatura
(609) 292-2994


Forest Fire Service Restricts Recreational Fires

(05/111) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell is urging residents and visitors of New Jersey to practice water conservation due to continued hot and dry weather conditions. Additionally, DEP's Forest Fire Service has restricted recreational fires in most of the state.

"If existing trends continue we may need to invoke the state's non-emergency drought options. Clearly the adage 'waste not, want not' applies here," said Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.

The DEP's tracking of the six drought regions in New Jersey indicates particular vulnerability in the northern and central part of the state with decreased ground water levels and reduced reservoir levels. Southern New Jersey has fared somewhat better with near-normal levels recorded for stream flows and ground water due to relatively higher amounts of rainfall; however, due to substantially dry conditions in recent weeks, this area also remains under close scrutiny.

Under the new fire restrictions, fires directly on the ground and in wooded areas are prohibited. Agricultural burning permits also are suspended. These restrictions will remain in place until adequate rainfall is received or until additional measures are needed.

DEP's internal drought monitoring group assesses drought indicators and water levels and evaluates water supply management options to reduce the likelihood of a water emergency.

Options DEP would consider, if conditions do not improve, include ordering the water purveyors to develop alternative water supplies, to conduct flow tests and to activate water supply interconnections and water transfers. Before moving forward with any of these requirements, the department will schedule a public hearing.

Over the summer, New Jersey received below average rainfall throughout central and northern New Jersey. DEP is asking the public to take voluntary actions to conserve water, including:

  • Limit lawn watering to 20 minutes twice per week through the fall.

  • Fix leaky faucets and pipes in the home, along with turning off the faucet while brushing teeth and shaving.

  • Turn off faucets when not in use.

  • Install water conserving faucet and shower heads.

  • Run washing machines and dishwashers only when full.

For additional water conservation information visit
For additional information on fire restrictions visit




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Last Updated: September 13, 2005