Controlled burning—or prescribed burning, whichever your flavor—has marked the skies of southern Ocean County with plumes of smoke the past few days. Capitalizing on warmth and wind local officials have taken to their annual task of culling New Jersey’s Pinelands of restrictive low-level growth. Fire is the lifeblood of a healthy forest ecosystem, and controlled burning is a responsible method of human stewardship that keeps our beloved pine forest habitat active and healthy. Not only does it aid in the replenishment and overall health of the pines, it also helps mitigate the risk and potential impact of a large out of control fire. It has an added photographic benefit by way of subject matter and color.
Without wanting to get too close to the action, and without wanting to put myself in the way of hard working fire professionals, I made for Stafford Forge a little before sunset to capture the action from a reasonable distance. It was worth the effort. The sky and smoke was cast in a reddish-pink glow fused with a healthy dose of yellow. Scanning for composition I found a small tree to anchor my image. The real attention, however, goes to the prominent smoke plume pushing its smoke southeastward toward the sea.
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