Brighton at Barnegat Community Planning Firewise Day Feb. 26 

Feb 14, 2018

With the peak wildfire season in the Pinelands beginning in March, the Brighton at Barnegat community in Barnegat Township is holding its second annual Firewise Day on Monday, Feb. 26. Event coordinator Diane Schlagel said the event will take place in the community clubhouse from 2 to 4 p.m. She said guest speakers include Barnegat Township officials as well as representatives from the Barnegat Police Department, Ocean County Emergency Response Team, New Jersey Forest Fire Service and Popcorn Park Zoo.

“This year’s theme is Ready, Set Go,” said Schlagel. “The speakers will talk about being prepared to evacuate your home, what you should expect if you need to spend time in a shelter and what you should have ready in case you have to evacuate your pets.”

Brochures containing information on evacuation preparedness will be available. Cookies, coffee, tea and bottled water will be served.

Brighton is one of five Barnegat communities to receive a “Firewise” designation from the state Forest Fire Service. The program encourages communities to develop projects to slow or stop the progress of a wildfire, such as by creating fuel breaks – gaps in vegetation that act as a barrier to slow or stop the progress of a wildfire – and clearing out underbrush and dead or diseased trees.

Schlagel said people got a strong dose of reality during the May 15-16, 2007, fire that burned approximately 17,000 acres and forced numerous communities in Barnegat and Stafford townships to evacuate. In Brighton it destroyed three homes and damaged five others.

“When I moved to Brighton, I talked to residents, and I realized that the Firewise program was something we needed,” she said. “Public awareness is also very important, and that’s why we’re having a Firewise Day, to educate people what they should do in the event of a wildfire and being prepared.”

For more information, call Schlagel at 609-607-1375. E.E.

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