Pine Barren fire plan needs more neighbors’ input

Pine Barrens wild fire

Authorities are coming up with a plan to deal with wildfire management in the Manorville and Calverton Pine Barrens and have asked nearby residents to share their thoughts. But so far, just 36 have said what they think of the plan, according to Legislator Al Krupski.

Mr. Krupski said it’s important for more neighbors to have their voices heard.

“Community input is invaluable because these are the people most familiar with conditions within their own neighborhoods and they can identify potential risks and help prioritize the mitigation of those risks,” he said. “I encourage anyone, including those who have knowledge of or an interest in the future of the Pine Barrens or wildfire prevention, to get involved.”

The draft — called a Community Wildfire Protection Plan — would give local communities a say in how the federal government deals with preventing out-of-control wildfires, like the one that charred more than 1,000 acres of pine barrens across Brookhaven and Riverhead Towns in 2012.

The CWPP is being developed by the Central Pine Barrens Commission and local fire departments. The plan specifically refers to areas around the Brookhaven National Lab and in western Riverhead Town.

The next public meeting is expected to be scheduled for some time in February. In the meantime, residents of Ridge, Manorville and Calverton can participate in a survey about community preparedness by clicking here.

Photo caption: Life flourishing in charred forest in Manorville in April 2013, a year a wildfire burned over 1,000 acres of pine barrens. (Credit: Paul Squire)