TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Parker Space allowing controlled burns of forests and open lands to protect against wildfires passed the Assembly Monday by a 75-0 vote. “Pinelands wildfires have burned thousands of acres putting residents and wildlife at risk,” said Dancer. “Controlled burns prevent wildfires and their intensity. They reduce that risk by burning off dead brush and leaves. They are excellent for the health of the environment while protecting lives, property and infrastructure.”“This bill protects landowners’ rights while protecting the public from dangerous wildfires,” said Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “Expanding the use of safe and controlled burns also promotes a healthier forest environment by allowing for wildlife habitat management, forest disease and pest control and nutrient management.”The Dancer-Space bill establishes procedures and a process for certifying individuals to conduct prescribed burns, and authorizes the Bureau of Forest Fire Management to conduct burns in any area of the state it determines is in reasonable danger of wildfire. Before doing so, it must give landowners 30 days’ notice. Landowners burning on their own property do not need to be certified.