Friday, March 27, 2015

Eaglet born to a pair of Eagles in New Jersey

On a rainy day when there is no prescribed burns going on in New Jersey, I got to watch something very special almost an hour ago. Thanks to the wonders of web cams with live streams available on the internet I got to watch an eaglet (baby Eagle) being hatched.

There is a pair of Eagle that are nesting at Duke Farms located in Somerset County NJ. The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey in collaboration with Duke Farms has a webcam, known as the Eagle Cam, mounted over their nest.

Link to Eagle Cam

Two eggs were layed a little over five weeks ago. Egg # 1 hatched today at about 3:37 PM EDT. I was fortunate to be watching when the egg hatched. Words escape me. All I can say is that it was very special and a privilege to watch something so awe inspiring. I took some screen grabs as I was watching the live stream which I'll share with you.

Duke Farms (NJ) Eagle Cam March 27, 2015 at 3.21.43 PM

Duke Farms (NJ) Eagle Cam March 27, 2015 at 3.22.07 PM EDT

Duke Farms (NJ) Eagle Cam March 27, 2015 at 3.36.44 PM EDT

Duke Farms (NJ) Eagle Cam March 27, 2015 at 3.36.57 PM EDT

Duke Farms (NJ) Eagle Cam March 27, 2015 at 3.36.58 PM EDT

Duke Farms (NJ) Eagle Cam March 27, 2015 at 3.37.00 PM EDT

Duke Farms (NJ) Eagle Cam March 27, 2015 at 4.09.09 PM EDT
Duke Farms (NJ) Eagle Cam March 27, 2015 at 4..18.14 PM EDT

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Prescribed Burns in NJ (NJ Forest Fire Service): March 24th & 25th

Prescribed burns conducted by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) continue this week. There has been some light rain this afternoon up in north Jersey, where the NJFFS are not conducting prescribed burns. I don't know if the rain reached to the areas where prescribed burns were planned and if so whether the burns were able to continue or had to be postponed. Rain is forecast the next couple of days, so I don't know if there will be any more prescribed burns this week.

A small map of New Jersey by county with a listing of counties in each of the three New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) Divisions may be found here (scroll down a bit). A second map of New Jersey from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service shows the boundaries of the three NJFFS Divisions, with the location of each Division Section may be found here.

March 24 (316 acres)
Obtained from New Jersey Forest Facebook on Tuesday, March 24

Monmouth County
Section B-10, Manalapan, Monmouth Battlefield State Park, 100 acres grass.

Atlantic County
Section C-5 Estell Manor City, Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area, 10 Acres Grass
Section C-5 Estell Manor City, Maple Lake Wildlife Management Area, 1 Acre Grass
Section C-8 Hamilton Twp, NJFFS Strawberry Field, 100 acres grass

Camden and Gloucester Counties
Section C-6 Winslow Twp/Monroe Twp, Winslow Wildlife Management Area, 100 Acres Grass

Cumberland County
Section C-4 Maurice River Twp, Peaslee Wildlife Management Area, 5 Acres Grass

March 25 (at least 285 acres)
Obtained from New Jersey Forest Facebook on Wednesday, March 25

Middlesex County
Section B10 Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park in South Brunswick

Ocean County
Section B5 Pancoast Fuel Break in Barnegat Twp.

Cape May County
Section C-1 Beaver Swamp Wildlife Management, Middle Township, 40 Acres Forest
Section C-2 Belleplain State Forestt, Dennis Township, 95 Acres Fores

Cumberland County
Section C-3 Buckshutem Wildlife Management Area, Lawrence Twp and Fairfield Twp, 150 Acres Forest

Monday, March 23, 2015

Prescribed Burns in NJ (NJ Forest Fire Service), March 18th & 19th

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service conducted more prescribed burns last week before it snowed last Friday. The figure for acreage burned is mine from adding up each days burns.

A small map of New Jersey by county with a listing of counties in each of the three New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) Divisions may be found here (scroll down a bit). A second map of New Jersey from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service shows the boundaries of the three NJFFS Divisions, with the location of each Division Section may be found here.

March 18
Prescribed burns 744 acres
see the March 18th Facebook post by NJ Forests

B1 Burlington County Park, Hainesport
20 Acres Grass

B6 Brendon Byrne State Forest
672 Acres Forest

B7 Double Trouble State Park, Berkley Township
52 Acres Forest

March 19
Prescribed burns 1,636 acres
see the March 19th Facebook post by the NJ Forests

B-1 Wharton State Forest, Shamong
200 acres forest

B-2 Wharton State Forest, Washington
60 acres forest

B-4 Stafford Forge, Little Egg Harbor
12 acres grass

B-5 Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area, Lacey/Manchester
150 acres grass

B-7 Whiting Wildlife Management Area, Manchester
100 acres forest

B-9 Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, Jackson
400 acres grass

B-6 Brendan Byrne State Forest, Woodland
400 acres forest

B-10 Pigeon Swamp, Jamesburg
20 acres forest

C2 Belleplain State Forest, Dennis
67 acres forest

C5 Atlantic County Park, Hamilton
25 acres forest

Strawberry Fields Airport, Mays Landing
100 acres grass

C7 Stockton University, Galloway
52 acres forest

C9 Glassboro WIldlife Management Area, Glassboro
50 acres grass

Friday, March 20, 2015

DC-7: present and 61 years ago

On a snowy March day in New Jersey I want to pause a bit and share two videos about the DC-7.

I came across the one below today and don't quite remember if I have seen this one before. If I have shared this one before, well enjoy the re-run. You will see DC-7 Tanker-66 on a take off roll in 2012 before Butler was acquired by Erickson Aero.

direct link to video

While I was looking at this video on youtube earlier today, I found this video from 1954 starring one of American Airlines DC-7 on a NY to Los Angeles flight. Allow about 29 minutes to watch this video. Thanks to Classic Airliners and Pop Culture for finding and sharing this video.

direct link to video

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Enhanced fire danger for portions of NJ & more on prescribed burns

Enhanced fire danger

On a somewhat chilly yet blustery March day, the National Weather Service Forecast Office at Mt. Holly NJ (Philadelphia) has issued a special weather statement for enhanced fire danger for central and southern New Jersey for today. Depending on when you arrive at this post, the special weather statement may have expired, so I am copying it below. I believe that this is the first day of enhanced fire danger this year.

932 AM EDT WED MAR 18 2015





I'll do my best to see if there is any wildfire activity today, and I'll share any updates that I might come across. However, there is a chance that I won't hear any news about wildfire activity.

Prescribed Burns

As some of you know I wrote about prescribed burns in New Jersey on March 13th and March 16th. I came across an article on prescribed burns in NJ on Philly dot com (March 16, 2014). The article discusses the prescribed burns that were conducted by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service last Friday (March 13th). Of note is a reference in the Philly dot com article of March 16th saying that the end date for prescribed burning is not yet known:

Just how long the burns will continue is unknown, said DEP spokesman Larry Hajna. The end date "is a moving target because of the rain and snow," he said Friday. "We were trying for a few weeks to get this launched."

The burns will continue beyond the usual March 15 cutoff. "But we can't go too late into the season," Hajna said. "We go as long as we can safely do it."

The controlled fires are generally conducted during the winter months to minimize the amount of smoke produced, and when weather conditions tend to be safer for them.

I'll do my best to keep on eye on any future prescribed burns in New Jersey and post updates in future articles.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A little more about prescribed burns in New Jersey

Last Friday, March 13th, I wrote about several prescribed burns that were done that day. I have since heard from some friends in the NJ Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) that those prescribed burns that were done last Friday the 13th were the first prescribed burns of the season. A list of those burns that I listed on March 13th may be found in this NJFFS Facebook post.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service released a press release about the 2015 Prescribed Burning season in New Jersey on March 13th that may be found here.

A couple of points from the press release that I'd like to highlight here.

1. Why do prescribed burns? I like what the press release says:
The Forest Fire Service, part of the DEP’s Forestry Services, expects to burn about 10,000 acres of forests and grasslands this season. These fires burn brush, leaves, needles and debris but do not reach the canopy of the forest or cause significant tree loss as wildfires do. They improve forest health by removing thick undergrowth and competing non-native trees that can harm the overall health of the forest.
2. The New Jersey Forest Fire Services warns that residents in areas where prescribed burning is happening may see smoke and suggest that if residents are in doubt about the source of the smoke that they may contact 9-11 or 877-WARN-DEP (877-927-6337).

3. I know from first hand experience that roads near or adjoining areas where prescribed burns are taking place are indeed clearly marked. In my experience the signage is clear and you will know before you drive through an area where prescribed burning is occuring.

I don't know what effect our colder than normal winter and only recent snow melt has had on the prescribed burning season here in New Jersey. But I do know that I can check the New Jersey Forest Fire Service Facebook page for updates. And I'll share any updates I find here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Prescribed burns in New Jersey (2015)

I have to admit that with the recent cold weather that we have had in New Jersey it has been a little hard to believe that our spring fire season is coming up. And even if there was no snow, it was hard for me to imagine to prescribed burning in the frigid temperatures that we have experienced this winter in New Jersey. Even with the more normal (for us temperatures) in Northern New Jersey this week, a snow pack still lingers. In my case, the snow pack is minimal, a couple of inches, covering about one-half of my property. But north of me, the snow pack will be deeper. South of me, as you can see from the Snow Depth graphic from the National Snow Analyses from the U.S. National Weather Service’s National Operation Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center, there is no snow pack.

Obtained on March 13, 2015 from

While I am hardly an expert in such things, I know that once the snow pack is gone the potential exists for the ground to dry out pretty quickly. And with that the start of the spring wildfire season.

In advance of the spring fire season here in New Jersey, prescribed burning is done. I suspect that the persistent snow pack through much of January into late February/early March has resulted in fewer prescribed burns. The lack of snow cover in central and southern New Jersey means that they are able to do prescribed burning. Unfortunately, I don’t quite know when prescribed burning started in the central and southern part of New Jersey (Sections B and C). However, thanks to my friends at the NJFFS Section B-10 website  I know that  there is prescribed burning going on today in the following areas in New Jersey (what you see when you access the NJFFS Section B-10 website
will differ depending on when you accessing their page):


  • Section B2 — Burlington County, Washington Twp. Warton State Forest, 50 acres, grass

  • Section B4 — Ocean County, Eagleswood Twp, Stafford WMA, 50 acres, grass
  • Section B6 — Ocean County, Manchester Twp, Manchester WMA, 50 acres, grass
  • Section B10, Monmouth County, Monmouth Battlefield, 203 acres, grass


  • Section C3 — Cumberland County, Commercial and Downe Twp., Milleville and Buckstutem WMA, 90 acres, grass
  • Section C4 — Cumberland County, Maurice Twp. Peasley WMA, 100 acres, grass

It is supposed to rain tonight into Saturday and possibly into early Sunday which probably means no prescribed burning anywhere in the State this weekend.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Smokejumping: Reflections

When I first got seriously interested in wildland firefighting I got in touch with a former professor with whom I studied a little about forestry (among other things) while I was in graduate school. I told Marc about my interest in wildland firefighting. He suggested that I read Young Men and Fire by Norman McLean about Mann Gulch (see an article I wrote on November 26, 2008). A short time later, I read Jumping Fire, by Murray A.Taylor about his life as a smokejumper. So you could say that one of my introductions to wildland firefighting was through smokejumping.

One of these days on one of my treks out west, I’ll have an opportunity to visit a Smokejumper Base or two. I’d love to see up close and personal some of what I’ve seen in videos about what happens at a Smokejumper Base. Perhaps I’d be able to visit one of the smokejumping aircraft up close and personal.

Over the last several days, I have grown to appreciate the complexity of all that is involved in smokejumping. I don’t know if what I have posted previously or plan to post in the capture will adequately capture all that is involved in smokejumping from training to practice jumps to getting the call to a fire to jumping to the fire to working the fire.

As I continue to write this blog on the different aspects of aerial wildland firefighting, I hope that some of my respect for all wildland firefighters whether the be on the ground or in the air as well as their support staff comes through in what I share.

Before I leave, I do hope to continue the series on smokejumping 101 (see articles from March 3rd, March 4th, and March 9th). I have some queries out to get some more information on smokejumping to share with you. But this process may take a several days. So stay tuned, I'll be back with more articles in my series on smokejumping as soon as I can.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Smokejumping 101 part 3: More on Smokejumper Aircraft

Here are some videos and or pictures of four smokejumper aircraft. Later this week I'll be back with more in this series

Twin Otter
8 smokejumpers

direct link to video

Casa 212
10 smokejumpers

Practice jump Casa 212

direct link to video

Shorts Sherpa
10 smokejumpers

I believe that the aircraft you are seeing in the video from KQED on the California Smokejumpers that I embed below is a Shorts Sherpa. If the embed code doesn’t work, the direct link should work. I first shared this video in August 2014, but it is approrpriate to share it again.

direct link to video

I shared some links to photos and videos of the Sherpa on February 27, 2015. (I was having trouble with this link, and if it doesn't work just scroll down a bit on the main page of my blog and you should find the post).

Dornier 228
8 smokejumpers
picture from California Smokejumpers Aircraft page (bottom of page)

Friday, March 06, 2015

Alaska Smokejumpers

I was hoping to write a little more about the different types of smokejumper aircraft. As sometimes happens, I have to take a little more time to do some more research before I write my article. Sorry about that. I’m not going to take too long on this phase of my research, and it is my intention to post a second article next week, either on March 9 or March 11.

In the meantime, I have previously shared videos about Alaska Smokejumpers on December 28, 2012 (SJ training) and on January 2, 2013 (2012 season). I found some more videos about Alaska Smokejumpers that I want to share with you to share with you from the Alaska Film Archives. They have a collection of nine videos showcasing Alaska Smokejumpers, I am sharing three with you.

Air to air video of Alaska smokejumpers jumping from a Volpar aircraft (1986)

direct link to video

Alaska smokejumpers exiting airplanes (2005)

direct link to video

Wildfire and retardant drops from Alaska Smokejumpers collection (1985-1996)

direct link to video