New Jersey Fires Under Control

Apparently the fires, which were caused by a military jet dropping a flare, are now under control.  This blaze apparently caused my grandparents former trailer park in the Pine Barrens to be evacuated.

As much as I support military strikes against New Jersey, FormerSpook reports that many residents are none too happy.

“I don’t think they should be doing it,” said Brenda Schoeneberg, 46, on Tuesday evening as she prepared to evacuate her sprawling neo-Colonial home in Warren Grove, N.J., where a stand of pine trees was silhouetted against the blaze 200 yards away.

The Times dutifully reports that this is the fourth time in eight years that Guard jets at Warren Grove have started fires or caused other damage in the local area, leaving “residents feeling as if they live in a war zone.” In 2004, the pilot of another F-16 fired an inadvertent burst from his 20 mm cannon that struck a school about three miles from the range. The incident occurred at night (when the school was empty), and damage was minimal. Two years earlier, practice bombs at Warren Grove touched off another fire that burned 11,000 acres, and a smaller fire in 1999 scorched 1,600 acres of area woodlands.

He later points out:

Warren Grove is located in the Pine Barrens, a rural portion of New Jersey that the Times describes as the largest piece of open space between Boston and Richmond. The remote location is one reason the range was established in that area almost 50 years ago. It’s also convenient for ANG F-16s based in Atlantic City, and Pennsylvania Guard A-10s from the Philadelphia area. Without the Warren Grove range, New Jersey and Pennsylvania guard pilots would have to fly farther south–perhaps to the Dare County Range in North Carolina–to accomplish their training, at a considerably higher cost in flight time, maintenance and jet fuel.

The military says it has no plans to close the range–nor should it. While occasional accidents will happen, they are an unfortunate–though thankfully rare–by-product keeping combat pilots prepared for their mission. The Defense Department will compensate property owners who suffered losses from the fire, just as it did after previous incidents. It’s a small price to pay for training that may save the life of an F-16 or A-10 pilot in combat, or improve their ability to kill terrorists on the ground.

I agree completely.   Read the whole thing.