PREFACE

In accordance with New York Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Article 57-0121(6)(t), part of the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act of 1993, the comprehensive land use plan prepared for the Central Pine Barrens was to include provisions for fire management for unanticipated fires ("wildfires") including coordination with local volunteer fire departments. This led to the creation of the Central Pine Barrens Wildfire Task Force in 1995 by the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission. This Wildfire Task Force was charged with:

This Fire Management Plan represents the culmination of work prepared by the members of the Wildfire Task Force to meet its goals set forth by the Central Pine Barrens Commission. The Wildfire Task Force was created following the devastating wildfires that occurred in August of 1995. These wildfires, known as the Rocky Point and Sunrise Fires, burned a total of 6,850 acres of the Central Pine Barrens, located in central Suffolk County. Burned areas included a portion of globally rare dwarf pine plains. These wildfires were unusually severe and large because of extreme drought conditions and high fuel loads.

The members of this Wildfire Task Force include representatives from federal, state, county, local, public and private agencies, departments, and councils with a vested interest in wildfire management within the Central Pine Barrens. As such, this Fire Management Plan is reflective of its Wildfire Task Force membership, mindful of the importance that this Plan also be usable by a broad base of elected officials, volunteers, government personnel and citizens. The Plan therefore includes background information on the ecological importance of the Central Pine Barrens and the relationship which its vegetation has with fire. A glossary of fire terminology is provided in the plan to ensure that this terminology is uniformly defined and to clarify fire terminology that may not be familiar to the general public.