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Extremely dry weather sets stage for wildfires in Pennsylvania

  • Scott LaMar

Airdate: June 9, 2023

There is a chance of showers or a thunderstorm Friday and the rain would be welcome. Farmers ‘crops need rain badly and most of lawns have that brown, crunchy feel of late August.

But what the lack of precipitation has also done is make conditions right for wildfires. While we’ve been focusing so much on wildfires in Canada this week, a spark from a camp fire or lightning could start a fire here.

Fire season in Pennsylvania is normally in spring and fall. But Mike Kern, Chief of the Division of Forest Fire Protection with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry told us on The Spark Friday that the unusually dry weather since early spring means the risk of wildfires or brush fires is high right now. Kern added that there are two wildfires burning in Pennsylvania now — one in Schuylkill County and the other in Snyder County.

Several Pennsylvania counties have instituted burn bans because of the dry conditions. They include Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York Counties.

Kern indicated that 90% of wildfires are started by humans and said no one should be burning now.

However, there are campers that burn campfires. Kern said campers should make sure those campfires are completely extinguished,”The best way to ensure a fire is out is to basically drown it with water when you’re done. We tell people to make campfire soup before and think about that. You pour enough water in to get the stuff to float and then stir it around and try to to make sure it’s extinguished. Definitely. But before you walk away from it, you want to make sure that it’s cooled off and that there is no embers left. Sometimes if you just pour some water on a surface, those hot embers will stay underneath the coals for a surprisingly long time. And then, if you get a dry, windy day, it doesn’t take a whole lot. When you could possibly blow one of the embers back out well after you’re gone. So you really want to just drown your fire and really make sure that it’s cool to the touch before you leave the area.”


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