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32 Pleasant Plains Road
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
Phone: (973) 425-9510
Fax: (973) 425-0173

Prescribed Fire at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge
2024 Prescribed Fire Notification for Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service wishes to inform the surrounding communities that we will be conducting prescribed burns at the Great Swamp NWR in the late winter through early fall. We expect to burn various fields along Pleasant Plains Road from Lees Hill Road to Whitebridge Road, as well as the fields along White Bridge Road between the Passaic River and New Vernon Road.

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1960, in part to provide habitat for migrating ducks and geese, and for the protection of natural resources and conservation of the nation’s wetlands. Over the past decade, woody vegetation has invaded the grassland units and fields on the refuge, reducing the quality of these habitats for wildlife. Prescribed fire will be used to remove standing dead and invasive vegetation in these fields. The use of prescribed fire as a management tool is part of the Refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

The actual dates for the prescribed burns will depend on favorable weather conditions, including relative humidity, fuel moisture, and wind speed and direction to achieve the desired objectives and for the smoke to rise and disperse as well as the availability of firefighters. Each prescribed burn prescribed burn
A prescribed burn is the controlled use of fire to restore wildlife habitat, reduce wildfire risk, or achieve other habitat management goals. We have been using prescribed burn techniques to improve species habitat since the 1930s.

Learn more about prescribed burn
is expected to be completed within one day with active burning over several hours. Smoke may be visible from a distance and trails and facilities may be temporarily closed while burning is underway.

Local emergency personnel, including the police and fire departments will be notified prior to the prescribed burn. At least 10 firefighters and 4 fire apparatus are required to implement the prescribed burns. Visitors and residents are reminded that smoke may be visible after the burn is completed, but personnel will monitor and patrol the area until the prescribe burns are declared out. Assistance may be provided by firefighters from other U.S. Fish and Wildlife units, the National Park Service, and/or the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. The Refuge has safely conducted prescribed burns in the last several years.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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