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Pa. warns of heightened fall wildfire dangers

Pa. warns of heightened fall wildfire dangers

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The Wolf Administration is urging all residents beware of increase wildfire dangers in state forestland.

The governor’s office said hunting and other outdoor activities this fall come at a time when woodlands and brush can become tinder dry in just a few days. State officials noted a sustained dry period over much of the state comes at time when wildfire dangers normally are high, with critical conditions potentially developing overnight in many forested areas.

“With rainfall varying greatly across the commonwealth, a dry windy span of just a few days quickly can make wildfires a very real threat,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Amid the pandemic we know so many are seeking outdoors pursuits. Hunting soon will be popular and fall foliage is a joy to behold, but when the leaves begin dropping and drying, they become added fuel for woodland fires.

“Amid these conditions, it takes only a careless moment to ignite a devastating wildfires,” she added. “We know debris burning is leading cause of wildfires throughout the state and more than 95 percent of Pennsylvania wildfires are caused by people.”

There are already drought advisories across the state due to a lack of rainfall.

Though Cumberland County is not among those in the advisory, other counties, including Perry, Blair, Centre, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties are.

Officials urge hunts and other visitors to state forestlands to be careful when smoking and making fires amid dry vegetation.

Homeowners should also consider weather and conditions when burning outdoors. If it is windy or dry, burning should be postponed until conditions change. Officials say that when burning, a hose, rake and shovel should be handy, and any burnable materials should be cleared within 10 feet of a fire.

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