As Smokey Bear says…

“Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!”

We’re getting ready for the first day of trout this Saturday, and a lot of people are going to be heading into area woodlands near waterways.  The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is urging everyone to prevent forest and brush fires.

“We ask trout anglers and other forest visitors to be extremely careful this weekend because fire danger is increasing rapidly amid sunny, warm days and little rainfall,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “One act of carelessness could prove disastrous among tinder-dry conditions in some of our forests, where wildfire dangers climb with each day of sun and wind.”

Open fires are forbidden on state forestland from March 1 through May 25, and when the fire danger is listed as high, very high or extreme.

Advice from DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry includes:

  • Clear the area around the fire prior to starting it;
  • Keep the fire small and never leave it unattended;
  • Before you strike a campfire match, first consider if it is too warm, dry or windy for a fire and if the surrounding area is free of leaves and other combustibles;
  • Make sure there is a ready source of water (bucket or hose) nearby and a rake to extinguish any embers that might escape; and
  • When you are done with the fire put it out with water until all ashes are cold to the touch.

Residents are also advised to create “safe zones” around their homes and cabins by removing leaves and other debris from the ground and rain gutters.  It’s also smart to stack firewood away from structures (to avoid both fire and termites!) and trim overhanging branches.