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.