In late August 1995 a wildfire destroyed 5,000 acres of pine and oak forest within the Long Island Pine Barrens Preserve, which was the worst wildfire of New York in nearly a century. In an effort to control the fire, 11-12 miles of bull-dozed fire-breaks varying from 12' to 100' wide were constructed. The reforestation effort was spearheaded by the Long Island Native Plant Center at Suffolk Community College in Riverhead. This 3 year project planted a total of 36,000 native trees to restore the fire breaks and areas severely impacted by the fire. In the third of three phases, 15,455 trees were planted. School groups and volunteers received training in fire ecology and the importance of native tree species and assisted in the planting of the trees. This project will restore the natural area for wildlife habitat, recreation and science education for local high schools and colleges. Seedlings were provided by the New York State Nursery at Saratoga, New Jersey State Tree Nursery, the Native Plant Center at Suffolk County Community College and other local nurseries.
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