RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FOR ALL COUNTIES IN FOREST DISTRICT 17 TODAY: Tuesday April 19, 2016 from noon until 8PM.
The PA Bureau of Forestry has issued a RED FLAG WARNING. This means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential.
Open fires are NOT RECOMMENDED TODAY due to high risk of spreading, causing wildfires.
According to the PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources, most people believe the greatest danger of wildfire occurs during the summer. Actually, our greatest danger of wildfires is in the spring months of March, April and May, and the autumn months of October and November. In Pennsylvania lighting-caused fires are relatively rare. Ninety-eight percent of our wildfires are caused by people.
Why spring and fall months?
The first two factors occur most frequently in Pennsylvania during the spring and autumn. As the spring sun climbs higher in the sky, days become longer and warmer. The trees are bare during this time allowing the sunlight to reach the forest floor warming the ground and drying last fall’s leaves. This, coupled with the fact that the winds in the spring are often very strong and dry, leads to a tremendous amount of fuel ready to burn. During the fall, starting around October, the leaves turn color and begin to fall, accumulating in a deep fluffy layer that creates a fire hazard.
The third factor, ignition source, also occurs during these periods. One of the major causes of forest fires in Pennsylvania is debris burning. A careless person burning accumulated trash can be responsible for causing thousands of acres of valuable Pennsylvania forests to burn. These fires most frequently start in someone’s backyard and travel through the dead grass and weeds into the bordering woodlands.
Regardless of the season, conditions often prevail that allow wildfires to start. Wildfires can occur in any month, at any time of the day, destroying valuable woodlands and wildlife habitat. Homes and buildings are threatened, not to mention the direct threat to human lives.