Governor Corbett Proclaims March 18-24 Wildfire Prevention Week
HARRISBURG, Pa., March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Governor Tom Corbett has proclaimed March 18-24 Wildfire Prevention Week in Pennsylvania, noting a relatively warm and dry winter has greatly increased the risk of spring wildfires in much of the state.
“Warm, sunny days and drying March winds can cause wildfire dangers to spike almost overnight,” Corbett said. “Last spring, wet, cool weather proved to be firefighters’ strongest ally, helping curb brush and woodlands fires that usually can be traced to carelessness and always endanger our vast forest resources.”
Last spring, volunteer firefighters and Bureau of Forestry personnel battled about 150 reported brush and forest fires that scorched almost 400 acres. The largest was mid-April blaze that burned 100 acres in northeastern Pennsylvania.
“Almost all wildfires can be traced back to people,” Corbett noted. “A mere spark by a careless person can touch off a devastating forest blaze during dry periods when conditions are especially ripe for wildfires to spread. We urge residents and visitors to use common sense with campfires, outdoor burning and smoking materials.”
State Bureau of Forestry statistics show nearly 85 percent of Pennsylvania’s wildfires occur in March, April and May, before the greening of state woodlands and brush lands. Named for rapid spread through dormant dry vegetation, under windy conditions, wildfires annually scorch nearly 10,000 acres of state and private woodlands.
Anglers, campers and other state forest visitors are reminded open fires are prohibited on state forestland from March 1 to May 25, and when the fire danger is listed as high, very high, or extreme, unless authorized by district foresters.
Communities in heavily wooded areas are urged to follow wildfire prevention and suppression methods of the Pennsylvania Firewise Community Program to safeguard life and property.
DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry is responsible for prevention and suppression of wildfires on Pennsylvania’s 17 million acres of state and private woodlands and brush lands. The bureau maintains a fire-detection system, and works with fire wardens and volunteer fire departments to ensure they are trained in the latest advances in fire prevention and suppression.
For more information on Wildfire Prevention Week activities, contact local district foresters; call the Bureau of Forestry at (717) 787-2925; or visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (select “Find a Forest” and then, “Wildfire”).
Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-772-9101
Eric Shirk, Governor’s Office, 717-783-1116
Editor’s Note: The following is the text of Governor Corbett’s proclamation:
WILDFIRE PREVENTION WEEK – March 18-24, 2012
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s bountiful woodlands and brush lands enrich the lives of both residents and visitors alike on a daily basis, providing irreplaceable habitat for countless flora and fauna species, a sustainable resource of timber and clean water and scenic recreational opportunities; and
WHEREAS, though both are sustainable resources, woodlands and brush lands quickly can be devastated by acts of carelessness. People are responsible for 98 percent of all wildfires, nearly 85 percent of which occur in March, April and May prior to the greening of our woodlands and brush lands; and
WHEREAS, wildfires annually devastate nearly 10,000 acres of state forest and even more private land; and threaten life, property and the sustainability of our valuable natural resources; and
WHEREAS, wildfire prevention hinges heavily on public understanding and appreciation of these values. Precaution and vigilance must be everyone’s personal charge, so that we can continue enjoying Pennsylvania’s millions of acres of woodlands and brush lands, now and into the future; and
WHEREAS, communities in heavily wooded areas are urged to follow wildfire prevention and suppression methods of the Pennsylvania Firewise Community Program to safeguard life and property; and
WHEREAS, these commonsense guidelines aid the brave men and women who serve as volunteer forest firefighters for our community volunteer fire companies and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
THEREFORE, In recognition of the importance of protecting our woodlands, brush lands, life, property and our natural resources, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim March 18-24, 2012 as WILDFIRE PREVENTION WEEK in Pennsylvania. I urge all Pennsylvanians and visitors to protect our valuable woodlands and brush lands by being meticulously cautious with the use of fire.
TOM CORBETT, Governor
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor