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Controlled burn

A controlled burn is planned for game land in North Middleton Township during the week of April 1.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission plans to conduct controlled burning operations, weather permitting, on State Game Lands 230 in Cumberland County during the week of April 1.

This game land is in Cumberland County and includes parts of North Middleton and Middlesex Townships. The planned forested burn consists of 129 acres within the North Middleton Township section of the game lands.

This forest burn is targeted to improve habitat conditions by reducing competing vegetation, promoting native hardwood and forest shrub regeneration, increase mast production as well as reducing the threat of wildfires. Currently, there is very little oak regeneration within this unit and the use of fire as a management tool is intended to specifically increase that as well as the amount of additional woody browse.

“All controlled burns are conducted by highly trained crews from the region and other agencies to ensure the safety of themselves and the public,” said Brent McNeal, assistant region forester and burn boss.

Actual operations are dependent on weather and site conditions. Even if reported conditions are favorable, a “test burn” will be conducted to observe fire behavior and smoke dispersion patterns to ensure on-site conditions reflect the same. Results of this small test fire will be the final determining factor for the operation to proceed.

When a decision is made to go ahead with a burn, the specific county 911 centers, local police, emergency and township offices where the game land is located are notified. During the operational period, all access to the site will be restricted to trained staff directly associated with the burn. As a result of the burn, the public may expect to see smoke on this game land any day of the week, primarily between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

For more information about controlled fire, go to the Pennsylvania Prescribed Fire Council website at: www.paprescribedfire.org. Additional information about wildlife habitat management and controlled burning may also be found on the Game Commission’s website at www.pgc.pa.gov.

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