BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission Rangers and representatives for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recently performed a controlled burn on 128.5 acres of Washington Valley Park.

According to a release from the park commission, these controlled burns refer to the controlled application of fire by a team of fire experts under certain weather conditions to help restore health to ecosystems that depend on fire.

The controlled burn was led by Park Rangers manager Dave Dendler and NJDEP Section Fire Warden George Efinger, and was done near the Hawk Watch.

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The purpose, according to the release, was to reduce fuel in the park and create an urban interface fuel break. Without the controlled fire, the release said, the area would become less resilient and create a potential for increased greenhouse gas emissions when catastrophic wildfires occur.

"An added benefit to the burn is that it eliminates invasive species of plants and creates a welcoming wildlife habitat," Efinger said in the release.

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