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Up to 2.4 million trees could be cut down in New Jersey as a part of a project to prevent major wildfires in a federally protected forest.  New Jersey environmental officials say that the plan to cut down trees in a section of the Bass River State Forest is to protect them against wildfires. They said it would mostly be small and scrawny trees.

The plan is set to begin in April and has its fair share of controversy. Some environmentalists say that it is reasonable and necessary, while others say that it is an unconscionable waste of trees that could be used to store carbon. On top of that, those opposed say that the possible use of herbicides to prevent invasive species regeneration will leach into the aquifer in Pinelands that contains some of the purest drinking water in the US.

The plan involves 1,300 acres of the Pinelands preserve, where most of the trees to be killed are 2 inches or less in diameter. Most of the trees that are cut will be turned into wood chips that will remain on the forest floor and eventually return to the soil, according to the department.

“It is unacceptable to be cutting down trees in a climate emergency, and cutting 2.4 million small trees will severely reduce the future ability to store carbon,” said Bill Wolfe, a former department official.

Luckily, there are many ways to control forest fires that aren’t as drastic as killing all of these trees. The hot dry climate in many countries means a single spark can light up an entire forest. While we can’t necessarily prevent these giant wildfires, we can help control them, especially in our backyard. If you live in a dry area covered in greenery, here are a few things you can do to protect your yard and home from flames.

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