LAKEWOOD — Smoke visible from the Garden State Parkway in Ocean County is coming from a controlled burn.

The burn is at Ocean County Park on New Hampshire Avenue. It caused concern as the area is also near an industrial park.

The controlled burns, also called prescribed burns, are done in the late winter and early spring by the state Forest Fire Service to reduce the risk of wildfires in New Jersey's wooded areas.

State Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Caryn Shinske says they burn "materials that have the potential to fuel wildfires."

"Those are things like twigs and branches and dry leaves that gather and collect on forest floors and when New Jersey gets into peak wildfire season. If you have all the material on the ground, it acts as a fuel and it can fuel the intensity of the wildfire. It's almost like an accelerant," she said.

Forest Fire Service personnel use handheld torches to set smaller fires to burn the debris on the ground. Wind, moisture and other conditions are taken into account before setting the fires.

Controlled burns scheduled for Wednesday:

Atlantic County

  • Mullica, (Pleasant Mills Road)

Burlington County

  • Evesham (Kettle Run Road – Black Run Preserve)
  • Pemberton (4 Mile Road and Deep Hollow Road)
  • Pemberton (Butler Place Road and Mt. Misery)

Camden County

  • Pine Valley
  • Waterford, Wharton SF (Burnt Mill Road & Collins Ave.)

Cumberland County

  • Lawrence, Buckshutem WMA
  • Vineland, Peaslee WMA (Union Road & Rte 49)
  • Cumberland/Maurice River, Peaslee WMA (Mays Landing Road, Hunters Mill Road & Weatherby Road)

Gloucester County

  • Glassboro, Glassboro WMA
  • Monroe, Cedar Lake WMA

Monmouth County

  • Upper Freehold, Assunpink WMA

Ocean County

  • Lakewood (New Hampshire Ave.)
  • Lacey (Mule Road)
  • Jackson (Bowman Road)
  • Little Egg Harbor (Nuggentown Road – Mill Branch)
  • Manchester, Crossley Preserve (Congasia Road & Township Line Road)

Justin Louis contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ