Health
7:42 am
Mon March 19, 2012

This Week is Wildfire Prevention Week

Governor Tom Corbett has proclaimed this week as Wildfire Prevention Week in Pennsylvania. According to the state Bureau of Forestry, nearly 85 percent of Pennsylvania's wildfires occur from March to May.

Chris Novak, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), said the amount and severity of wildfires varies depending on weather.

"We know that spring is an especially tricky time when it comes to wildfires," Novak said. "People are outside more, people start to burn leaves from the fall as they start to clean up their gardens."

According to the DCNR, the number one cause of all wildfires in Pennsylvania is debris burning. Open burning is not regulated by the state Department of Environmental Protection but through local ordinances.

Novak said the state had a wet spring last year, leading to fewer fires. Nonetheless, "We did have several hundred wildfires that DCNR was involved in," said Novak. "And that resulted in the burning of several hundred acres of brush or those types of habitats."

Last spring firefighters battled about 150 brush and forest fires, the largest being a mid-April blaze that burned 100 acres in the northeastern Pennsylvania.

Open fires are prohibited on state forestland from March 1st to May 25th when the fire danger is listed as high, very high, or extreme.