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Fire crews prepare to battle wildfire overnight in Monroe, Northampton counties

Fire crews in Monroe and Northampton counties worked for hours and will continue to work overnight to tame a wildfire that sparked Monday morning.

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — Smoke was still rising from the trees along Route 33 near the southern border of Monroe County into the evening hours.

The wildfire sparked around 11 a.m., and crews from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources prepared to work into the night.

"Now, because it's been so dry, there's a lot of dead wood that burning, kind of burning down in the rocks, and that needs to be dug out, and we need to get water to it from other directions," said Stephen Wacker, Forest MAnager with the DCNR.

Wildfires are nothing new for Stephen Wacker, a Forest Manager for DCNR.

But to see them running wild in early June, he says, is a problem, "It's certainly a record-breaking season, we haven't seen this number of fires or this many large fires in quite a while."

Wacker says Northeastern Pennsylvania is about five inches behind on rainfall this year, creating the perfect scenario for fires to spread fast and leaving agencies like his playing catch-up. 

"We are thinking about what if we have another fire today, what if we have another fire tomorrow, we have to pace ourselves and think about that. You can't commit all your resources to one spot. You have to be prepared for other things to pop up," explained Wacker.

With this Wildfire that started in Monroe County and moved to Wind Gap Mountain, Wacker says it could have been a lot worse if it was not for the many local fire departments that got here first.

"When you come up 33, and you see all those fire trucks and all those fire company people who were here really fast and get on it, that means that it makes our job a whole lot easier," said Wacker.

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