Forest Fire, Pine Barrens, NJ Barry Caselli
April 22, 2009

This was just a few days ago:
and is about 8 minutes drive from here. I went by to see the burned forest today. I will swing by tomorrow with my camera, and then post some pictures and/or video.

Yesterday I walked the two dirt roads that run along or pass through the burn area, and shot many pictures with the digital camera. Just now I put them all together into a Windows slideshow, and will upload the slideshow to my Youtube account. Once it is available on the Youtube site, I will notify the group.
While walking along I found that there were regular pine/oak uplands, cedar swamps and hardwood swamps on the site. I also found a house site where there was a cellar hole, a lot of grass and some non-native trees, including a spruce of some kind and what appeared to be some tuliptrees. There was also a nice little pond, and in one spot I found a Shadbush in bloom. I took a closeup of the flowers. Included in the slideshow will be one photo of reindeer lichen.

Here's the Youtube link for my slideshow:
As of right now there's still a notation at the top of the page saying that the video is still being processed.
Keep your eyes open for the Shadbush pictures, and then later the reindeer lichen photo. If you are observant you will see it. I love lichen, and can't resist photographing it.
Late in the slideshow you'll see an area with young trees. That was an area that was clearcut except for a few individual oak trees. Right after I discovered the cut I emailed the Pinelands Commission. They wrote me back saying that they had issued a permit for the cut, but the sawmill had gone and cut the forest before actually receiving their permit, so they were in temporary violation at the time of my writing to them. Some of the land in the area, including that cut, is owned by the Schairer Brothers Sawmill, some of it is owned by the Renault Winery, and some of it is in the Eyren Hafen Land Preserve. Eyren Hafen is old Dutch for Egg Harbor. By the way, the Renault Winery is the oldest continuously-operating winery in the United States, having been founded in 1862 or something like that.
By the way, I noticed a lot of cans and bottles visible in the woods as I walked. Roadside litter and illegal dumping are huge problems in New Jersey. It's such a shame. You have to go really far from civilization in order to get away from it. But even then the guys that take their trucks four wheeling in the woods routinely toss beer and soda bottles into the woods while they drive. So you can't ever get completely away from trash unless you walk off-road or off-trail. Then you risk getting ticks.
This burn area is about 3 miles east of here. I estimate that in a few weeks or a month I will start seeing sprouts on the trunks of the pine trees, or at the base of the ones that were killed. I will also start seeing pine seedlings, probably in a month. The forest will regenerate quite quickly. When the regeneration starts, I will take more pictures. This is great having a fire so near me, as I can watch the regeneration much more easily. The Pine Barrens is so huge that some places in it are really far away. For example, the nearest Pygmie Pine Plains area is 45 minutes to an hour's drive from here.


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