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Foresters warn of brush fire season

As Newswatch 16's Emily Kress found out, our dry winter may only make conditions worse in the spring.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Spring days are here again, but with the new season comes wildfire season.

In Northumberland County on Tuesday, a fire spread to a family's home in East Cameron Township.

The fire chief told Newswatch 16 the homeowners were burning something in a fire pit when the ashes started the brush fire.

Foresters say a majority of the wildfires they respond to could have been prevented. According to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), there was a record number of fires in February due to the lack of snow across the state.

"That sun tends to dry out the forest floor, so if you are burning and it's completely out, but a lot of things, the wind mixed with relative humidity and warmer temps can end up causing a wildfire," said Joseph Ulozas, a DCNR assistant district forester.

Officials with the National Weather Service (NWS) say that lack of snow takes away from moisture in the ground, making it easier for a fire to spread.

"Without that source of moisture in the ground, we've had an abnormally warm winter and abnormally warm air. You take away the moisture, that not only makes it more vulnerable to potential fires and the spread of those fires," said Mitchell Gaines with NWS.

Officials with DCNR urge people not to burn on dry, windy days and never leave a fire unattended. If a fire gets too out of control, you could be the one to foot the bill to put it out.

"Between personnel, aircraft, if the incident really expands and we have to bring in a management team to suppress the fire, it can get very costly," Ulozas said.

Officials with DCNR say wildfire season can last through the month of May.

March, April, and May are when Pennsylvania is at its greatest risk of wildfires; however, the lack of snow this past...

Posted by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on Thursday, March 16, 2023


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