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Rural Community Fire Protection (RCFP) - Provides up to 50/50 cost-share grants to communities under 10,000 population to purchase pumps, fire suppression equipment and other items to improve rural community fire protection.
Federal Excess Property Program (FEPP) - Distributes federal excess military vehicles to volunteer fire companies for conversion into fire suppression vehicles.
In 1985, the service signed a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service for out-of-state travel to large wildland fires. NJFFS personnel have been sent out to many states across the country during periods of national fire mobilization. In addition, the service has assisted communities and other agencies throughout New Jersey during other emergencies including: coastal storms, floods, search and rescue missions, and other emergencies.
The service conducts an extensive fire prevention and education program for the public. The goals are to reduce the number of fire starts and lessen the severity of the problem. These programs are presented at schools, shopping centers, parades and social clubs, as well as at meetings of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other organizations. Articles and pamphlets outlining special fire problems and situations are published and distributed.
Hazard reduction is a major feature of the prevention program:
- Prescribed burning operations have been conducted on state lands since 1936. An average of 10,000 to 15,000 acres are treated (burned) annually.
- The service's "Fireline Program" maintains hundreds of miles of firelines and firebreaks to provide access and break up large, unbroken forest areas.
The service's law enforcement program begins with a basic investigation to determine a fire's cause. Incendiary/arson fires account for 46.1% of all wildfires in New Jersey. The service may assess the cost of fire extinguishment, impose fines or recommend jail terms. An average of 150 violations and subsequent actions are recorded annually. The mission of the NJFFS is to "assist the residents of New Jersey in preserving, sustaining, protecting and enhancing the environment to ensure the integration of high environmental quality, public health and economic vitality…"
For additional information contact the New Jersey Forest Fire Service at the state headquarters located at 501 E. State St., CN 404, Trenton, NJ 08625. Telephone: 609-292-2977. Fax: 609-984-0378.