A Long Island official says budget cutbacks of “prescribed burns” have helped imperil thousands of acres of woodland during brush fires in recent days.
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko is calling for a “six-figure” reinvestment in the program. Lesko says forestry experts advise conducting burns of underbrush as a way to prevent widespread damage from uncontrolled forest fires.
He says municipalities struggling with tight budgets have cut spending on the burns. He says that trend needs to be reversed.
Last week, more than 1,000 acres of Long Island Pine Barrens were charred.
A second fire on Tuesday damaged more than 100 acres and imperiled hundreds of nearby homes.
Drought conditions, along with strong winds, have created hazardous conditions across the metropolitan region.