In Estell Manor, the Atlantic County Division of Parks and Recreation began a controlled burn at the county park as a preventative measure against forest fires.
According to web site "Wildfire Today," in 2012, over 9.3 million acres of wildlife burned to the ground during forest fires.
That's why on Sunday officials from the Atlantic County Park System coordinated with the New Jersey State Forest Fire Service to practice a controlled burn in an attempt to prevent these wildfires.
Clayton Ingersoll, the superintendent for the Atlantic County Park System, said, "We protect the woods and the inhabitants of the woods - all the animals and birds and so forth, and prevent the danger of a potential wildfire that could destroy not only the trees but all of the wildlife and animals that are in the woods."
There are 7300 acres of wildlife in Atlantic County parks and 1740 acres at the Estell Manor Park. Ingersoll explained, "We kind of pick areas where we get a lot of public use and the potential is higher for fires so we try to keep it as safe as possible."
The act of burning a park every two to three years removes fuel from the forest floor, to prevent spreading of flames in the event of a wildfire.
Officials from the Atlantic County Park System say that controlled burns like the one they tried to do on Sunday morning are an essential piece of keeping the forest safe. Ingersoll also said, "It's a very necessary thing. It's a very good example of different government agencies cooperating together for the benefit of the public."
And the public took note of Sunday's burn. Many people out for walks in the park said they appreciate the county's precautionary measures for forest fires.
Hammonton resident, Rodney Roberts, said, "It's good for the pine trees - for their growth and you know to keep things from getting out of control." Kyleigh Vandine said, "I think it's a great preventative measure. I want to make sure that kids can be swinging on swings all summer long and stay safe and, you know, enjoy the outdoors. A lot of kids don't get to experience it anymore, so it's a good thing."
Although the controlled burn on Sunday was halted after an hour, due to unsafe conditions, officials hope to finish burning the 70 targeted acres sometime in the next two weeks.