Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Spring is coming: longer days and Prescribed Burning season

In late February there are a couple of signs that spring is near. One is that daylight is starting to get noticeably longer. For example I am seeing eleven hours of daylight today as opposed to 9 hours and 16 minutes on December 21, 2015. For those that are interested in such things, you may go the U.S. Naval Observatory webpages where they have a page for sun or moon rise data for most locations in the United States and many international locations that may be found here. The USNO data is printed gives you data for one year, which is great. However, in addition to sunrise and sunset I like to know additional information such data on the length of the day and twilight in an easy ready format. I found a website that gives me that and more by month for my location, sunrisesunset. I'm not sure of the precision of their data but it is good enough for most of my uses.

Another sign that spring is coming is the start of prescribed burning season here in New Jersey. This year the announcement of the beginning of prescribed burning season came from the NJ Forest Fire Service in a February 21st press release, here is an excerpt from their press release:
“The state’s prescribed burning program, conducted only under exacting conditions and by highly trained personnel, is an important management tool in protecting lives and property, while providing an important additional benefit of keeping our wildlands ecologically healthy,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. ... 
Prescribed burns, also known as controlled burns, help reduce forest fire risks prior to entering the prime wildfire season, which in New Jersey generally begins in the early spring, when leaves and debris are abundant, tree cover is sparse, and conditions tend to be dry and windy.

“Prescribed burns that take place now reduce accumulations of forest undergrowth, fallen branches, leaves and downed trees that can become tinder for wildfires during dry periods in the spring,” said State Fire Warden Bill Edwards. “Both the safety of our firefighters and the general public are our top priorities as we implement these burns.”
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has a nice information page on prescribed burning in New Jersey that may be found here. I could not get the video to play on my Apple browsers, perhaps those of you with windows based machines will have more luck.

If I can find information on locations of prescribed burns in New Jersey, I'll post them here from time to time. In the meantime, my friends at the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page have a photo page for the 2016 prescribed burn season.

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