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Horizons at Barnegat

Horizons at BarnegatBarnegat Township is a 33.62 square mile land area in southern New Jersey. It is located in the south central coastal portion of Ocean County adjoining Barnegat Bay. The population growth of Barnegat Township, according to census data, has increased 24.8% from 1990 to 2000 as compared to an average population increase of 5.7% for other towns in southern New Jersey.

Horizons at Barnegat is an over-55 community located on 99.99 acres within Barnegat Township. We are about 5 miles from Barnegat Bay which opens into the Atlantic Ocean. Currently, there are approximately 300 people living in 164 homes within the Horizons at Barnegat community. Most of the homes were built in 2003.

Horizons at BarnegatIn many locations throughout Horizons at Barnegat, the close proximity of the houses to one another and small backyards that are met promptly with thick wooded areas create difficulty for mechanized fire fighting equipment. Although there is another over-55 community to our east, we are separated by a large expanse of forested area. We also have "common areas" within Horizons which are forested. Bordering our community are the pine-dominated forests, commonly known as The Pine Barrens, which are highly flammable. The New Jersey Pine Barrens comprise 1.1 million acres in size and occupy 22% of New Jersey. It is the largest body of open space on the Mid-Atlantic seaboard between Richmond and Boston. There are no actual transition areas between where residential and commercial growth is permitted and where this growth is restricted.

On May 15, 2007 a wildfire burned 17,000 acres of forest in the Pinelands near Warren Grove Gunnery Range. This fire was started when a National Guard pilot dropped a flare at low altitude into tinder dry terrain. The fire burned into Barnegat Township. Horizons at Barnegat residents were evacuated twice due to the close proximity of this wildfire to our community.

On June 5, 2008 a few of our residents attended a meeting for Barnegat and neighboring Stafford Township residents where a committee of municipal officials from Stafford and Barnegat, representatives from the EPA, Rutgers University, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, and the Pinelands Commission presented a study of the area including past fire history, population growth areas, and ways to implement special measures to mitigate wildfire hazards and risks in the two townships. Barnegat and Stafford were singled out because of the high risk of wildfires to these townships. A second presentation was held on September 22nd. These presentations and the facts introduced were the catalysts which began our journey to become a Firewise Community. On October 6, 2008 we held our first Fire Safety Committee meeting comprised of 10 members from our community who met with Gregory McLaughlin, Assistant Division Fire Warden, NJ Forest Fire Service. With his direction and expertise we became a recognized Firewise Communities/USA site on January 5th, 2009. Afterwards we officially changed our committee name from the Fire Safety Committee to the Firewise Committee.

Horizons at barnegatOn April 14, 2009 we held our first Firewise Open House. Although it was a windy, rainy evening our residents filled our clubhouse to capacity. This was truly a community event with representatives from two fire companies, the NJ Forest Service, the Pinelands Commission, and Township officials in attendance. Representatives from other over 55 communities were also invited to attend. (One of these communities is now beginning their own journey to become Firewise.) The mayor officially presented us with our Firewise signs that evening and commended our efforts. We received wonderful newspaper and radio coverage of this event.

We are proud to be the first community in Barnegat Township and Stafford Township to step up to the challenge. Although small in size we are committed to achieving our fire mitigation goals to:

  • Become a model to other communities.
  • Work cooperatively with township officials, local fire personnel, and other state, county, and local agencies to mitigate wildfire danger.
  • Educate our community and initiate fire safety programs and activities.
  • Create and maintain fuel breaks within and around our community.

Contact us at:
Nancy Reid
c/o Horizons at Barnegat
77 Marshfield Hills Boulevard
Barnegat, NJ 08005