Wolf declares Wildfire Prevention Week

Governor Tom Wolf has declared this week to be Wildfire Prevention Week in Pennsylvania.

Drying spring winds and climbing temperatures can turn dry vegetation into kindling for wildfires in Pennsylvania.

Wildfires devastate nearly 7,000 aces of state and private land annually.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources urged caution in a press release over the weekend, citing that nearly 85 percent of wildfires in Pennsylvania occur in the spring months of March, April and May.

DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry is responsible for prevention and suppression of wildfires on 17 million acres of land across the state. They work with fire wardens and volunteer fire departments to ensure they are trained to properly spot, fight and prevent wildfires.

Open fires on state land are prohibited from Mar. 1 to May 25 when wildfire risk is at its highest.

“Common sense can limit the threat of wildfires,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn in a press release. “When state residents and forest visitors are careless with burning trash, campfires and smoking, volunteer firefighters often pay the price, answering call after call in spring woodlands that are ripe for damaging, life-threatening wildfires,” she said.

Dunn said that people are responsible for 98 percent of all wildfires.

“A mere spark by a careless person can touch off a devastating forest blaze during dry periods when conditions enable wildfires to spread quickly,” Dunn said.