Allegheny Mountains

Burning The Forest To Protect One Of Its Most Threatened Visitors

May 15, 2018
Reid Frazier / 90.5 WESA

On a ridge at the top of the Allegheny Mountains, Gage Meyer, a supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, walked around a forest with a metal tank filled with a mix of diesel and gasoline.

“It’s not too potent but it does the job,” he said. “It’ll happen fast, especially on a day like today.”

It was sunny and dry on this spring morning. Meyer pulled out a lighter and lit a pile of leaves, damp with a mix of diesel and gasoline. Then he sprayed fuel in a straight line away from the fire from a metal can with a nozzle on it. The forest floor shot up in flames.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Evergreens, hemlocks and lush rhododendrons make the grounds around Fallingwater a remarkable setting even in the depths of winter. Located in the Laurel Highlands and suspended over a waterfall, it’s one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most recognizable structures.