Wolf administration warns of heightened wildfire dangers

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ADDS DATE – This photo provided by Adam Polinger shows a wildfire near the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area near Hardwick Township, N.J., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Firefighters from federal and New Jersey agencies were battling the forest fire that broke out in a popular hiking area near the Pennsylvania border. (Adam Polinger via AP)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Wolf administration is warning Pennsylvania residents to keep guard against the increased wildfire dangers as hunting and other outdoor activities are increasing.

A sustained dry period over many areas in the state has been noted by state officials. They say that critical conditions can develop almost overnight in many of the forested areas in the state.

“Amid these conditions, it takes only a careless moment to ignite a devastating wildfires,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “We know debris burning is leading cause of wildfires throughout the state and more than 95 percent of Pennsylvania wildfires are caused by people.”

Hunters and other woodlands visitors are urged to be especially careful with smoking and fires amid the dry vegetation.

When participating in outdoor burning, property owners should consider the weather before doing so. Burning should be postponed if it is windy or dry. A hose, rake and shovel should also be readily available when burning.

Flammable materials should also be cleared within 10 feet of a fire.

“While most Pennsylvanians are used to wildfires being confined to relatively far off places, these catastrophic events pose an escalating risk to communities throughout the commonwealth,” said State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego.  “Increasingly, our state is being affected by weather patterns that turn fields and forests into accidents waiting to happen.”

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