UNION COUNTY, NJ - The New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS), a unit of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry will conduct a prescribed burn of approximately 3 acres in what is known as the “Red Hill” section of Union County’s Ash Brook Reservation in Scotch Plains.

The area is located between Raritan Road and Martine Avenue. The fire will last approximately two hours.

While no date or time has yet been set for the burn since it is weather dependent, once a date is known, it will be posted on the County’s webpage and social media, sent to media and sent through the County’s First Alert email system to residents.

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Prescribed burns are commonly done throughout the state by the Forest Fire Service.  Last summer Governor Phil Murphy signed into law “The Prescribed Burn Act,” which preserved landowners’ rights to prescribed burns, strengthened protections for practitioners, and expanded acceptable uses of prescribed fire from reducing traditional hazard fuels to recognizing the benefits of habitat management as well as other forestry and ecological needs.

The area in the Ash Brook Reservation that will be burned is not immediately near any homes or private property, and the purpose of the burn is to eliminate possible fuel for a potential future forest fire, manage encroaching invasive plants, and to prevent the area from succeeding from a native meadow into a forest. 

The site is considered by naturalists to be an ecologically important one.  Doing a burn in this manner with professional firefighters will benefit the ecology of this area in the reservation, which includes valuable plant species, some, found nowhere else in Union County due to the unique soils and formation of the site.   

If in doubt about the source of smoke or fire, residents can call 911 or Union County Police at 908-654-9800.