DCNR warns of high forest fire risk as seasonal risk increases

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn recently urged Pennsylvanians to be aware of wildfire danger as seasonal wildfire risk increases.

“Spring is here and that means more people are spending time recreating outdoors, which is why it’s important to remind the public of the danger of wildfires,” Dunn said. “A negligent act in lighting a camp or bonfire could prove disastrous in the tinder-dry conditions in some of our forests, where the dangers of wildfires increase with each day of sun and wind.”

The greatest wildfire danger in Pennsylvania occurs during the spring months of March, April, and May, and the fall months of October and November. In Pennsylvania, 99% of all wildfires are caused by people.

Certain conditions are necessary for a forest fire to occur:

• An available fuel source, such as dried grass or leaves.

• Dry conditions, including low relative humidity.

• An ignition source — a means for the fire to start.

DCNR encourages those starting a fire at home or at a campsite to ensure that there are no combustible objects within 10 feet of the fire. In addition, it is recommended to have a rake or shovel with water to properly extinguish the embers of a fire. Finally, officials recommend checking the DCNR website to see if there is a high fire risk.

Volunteer and Bureau of Forestry firefighters are frequently dispatched to wildfires outside of Pennsylvania during the summer months and they also respond to wildfires during this busy season. This responsibility extends to Pennsylvania’s 17 million acres of private and public forests.

“Our firefighters work hard to suppress fires year-round, and many of them can be prevented if people take the proper steps to practice safe behaviors,” said state forester Ellen Shultzabarger. “We want to remind people to be careful around campfires and garden fires, and to take appropriate precautions at all times. This can help save lives and protect wildlife habitats.

Advice from the DCNR Forestry Office includes:

• Clean the area around the fire before lighting it.

• Keep the fire small and never leave it unattended.

• Before lighting a campfire match, first determine if it is too hot, dry or windy for a fire and if the surrounding area is free of leaves and other combustibles.

• Make sure there is a source of water (bucket or hose) nearby and a rake to extinguish any embers that may escape.

• When you have finished the fire, douse it with water until all the ashes are cool to the touch.

Thousands of acres of state and private forests are burned each year by wildfires.

Burning debris, operating equipment, power lines, and campfires are some of the most common causes of wildfires in Pennsylvania. Light rainfall in many areas, a lack of green foliage in spring, low humidity, and sunny, windy days combine to increase the risk of wildfire and bushfire spreading. These fires are almost always caused by human negligence.

Residents are also advised to create “safety zones” around homes and cabins by clearing leaves and other debris from the ground and gutters, stacking firewood away from structures, and trimming overhanging branches.

Wildfire prevention is a message brought to people across the country by the well-known character, Smokey Bear. Detailed wildfire prevention information and materials for children and educators are available at www.SmokeyBear.com.

State Park Campgrounds

are open for trout season

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn recently encouraged anglers to consider using state park campsites for night fishing trips as the season nears. trout. A total of 43 campgrounds statewide will offer camping starting April 2.

“As trout season approaches, it’s important for the public to be aware of the wonderful fishing and camping opportunities in our state parks,” Dunn said. “We are proud to support outdoor recreation efforts on public lands and look forward to seeing great turnout this year as people continue to turn to the outdoors for their health and wellbeing. »

DCNR has opened additional campsites to accommodate trout season to expand the outdoor experience. There are 86,000 miles of rivers and streams and thousands of lakes and ponds in Pennsylvania. Much of this abundant freshwater wealth is found in our state parks and state forests – 101 state parks and 20 state forests allow fishing with the proper fishing license.

“Whether you’re an angler or new to the sport of fishing this trout season, the lakes and streams in state parks are a great place to start,” said Tim Schaeffer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. (CBFP). “Camping and fishing are the perfect combination for families looking for adventure and convenience as they create lasting memories on the water.”

State park campsites can be reserved online on a first-come, first-served basis or by calling 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757), Monday through Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. , except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. State parks that host trout fishing with camping availability include:

Check individual parks for specific camping availability as some options (cottages, yurts, lodges, etc.) are already booked. In 2023, camping reservations at parks that host trout season will be extended to the standard 11-month reservation window.

Fishing in Pennsylvania requires a fishing license. For more information on purchasing a fishing license, visit the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.

Through a partnership with the CBFP, American Sportfishing Association, and DCNR, the public can borrow rods, reels, and a geared tackle box to try fishing at select parks. The program is part of DCNR’s efforts to ensure that nature is accessible to all Pennsylvanians. Those wishing to use loaner equipment should contact the park office to ensure availability.

For more information on camping in state parks, visit the DCNR website.

Importance of the environment

justice highlighted for Pa.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell spoke to a group of Penn State Brandywine students about environmental justice this week and encouraged people to review and comment. the draft Environmental Justice Policy, open for public comment until May 11, 2022.

“I appreciated the opportunity to speak with the leaders of tomorrow about environmental justice and how we can incorporate these principles into DEP’s work across Pennsylvania,” McDonnell said. “Low-income communities and communities of color have endured disproportionate levels of pollution for generations, and the Environmental Justice Policy Project is a step to ensure this does not continue.”

The draft Environmental Justice Policy includes several sections aimed at expanding and improving the existing Environmental Justice Policy which has been in effect since 2004. The new policy will attempt to integrate environmental justice into more aspects of DEP’s work for the benefit environmental justice communities. This may include revising definitions of environmental justice zones or populations; increase collaboration and planning between state government agencies; develop environmental justice mapping, resources and data for community use; prioritize environmental justice in grant-making practices; and training DEP staff and external partners on environmental justice.

The draft policy was developed after Governor Tom Wolf signed the Environmental Justice Executive Order last fall.

The DEP will hold three virtual public hearings to accept comments on the draft Environmental Justice Policy.

Anyone wishing to present evidence at a hearing should contact Glenda Davidson, 717-783-4759, or [email protected], at least 24 hours in advance, to set aside time to present their testimony. Language interpretation services are available upon request. Persons requiring language interpretation services should contact Glenda Davidson at [email protected] or at 717-783-4759 at least one week in advance.

Members of the public who wish to attend a virtual public hearing without testifying can view the hearings. Those who have not registered in advance as described above will remain silent for the duration of the public hearing.

Written comments are accepted via DEP’s online comment tool at – https://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment/ – or by email at [email protected] Written comments may be mailed to the Technical Advice Coordinator, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Policy, Rachel Carson State Office Building, PO Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.

learn to hunt

spring gobblers

There’s no better cure for cabin fever than spending time in the woods chasing spring gobblers.

But if you’re new to spring gobbler hunting or haven’t tried it yet, getting started can feel overwhelming.

The Game Commission is hosting three webinars to provide all the information needed to get started.

The first will discuss the equipment used by turkey hunters and cover everything from different types of shotguns, shells, camouflage, calls and decoys.

The second seminar will cover wild turkey biology and topics such as where turkeys like to roost in the evening, where they go in the morning, what their different sounds mean, their reproductive cycle and how you can use this information. for your advantage when spotting and hunting.

The final seminar will focus on hunting tips and tactics and will be led by Matt Morrett, a world champion turkey caller and one of North America’s most experienced turkey hunters. Matt will share some of his experiences and provide information on how to complete your tag.

Each seminar will last approximately 45 minutes and will end with a question and answer period. If you are unable to watch any of these seminars live, they will be recorded and posted on the Game Commission YouTube channel.

The first seminar will take place on Wednesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. Prior registration is mandatory.

To register or view the full schedule of upcoming seminars, please visit the Learn to Hunt page on the Gambling Commission website at http://bit.ly/pgclearntohunt.

Helen L. Cuellar