HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry is urging all residents to guard against wildfires caused by burning debris. Debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires throughout the state. According to forestry officials, more than 95 percent of the wildfires in Pennsylvania are caused by people.
“Homeowners should not let the recent rainfall give them a false sense of security when burning debris,” said John Miller, Chief Forest Fire Warden for Pennsylvania. “It only takes a few dry windy days to quickly change forest wildfire conditions.” A devastating forest fire can happen as a result of one careless moment.
The following are some simple tips to follow when burning debris:
• Check with the local municipality regarding burning ordinances and burn bans prior to burning.
• Keep the pile small, 4–foot diameter.
• Clear all flammable material and vegetation within 10 feet of the pile or barrel.
• Stay with the fire until it is dead out.
• Keep a hose or bucket of water at the site, along with a shovel.
• Don’t burn when windy.
• Put a heavy mesh screen with holes no larger than ¼ inch on the top of burn barrels; any holes in barrels need to be covered to prevent embers from escaping.
People are reminded that Pennsylvania law states that whoever starts a wildfire is responsible for the cost of putting it out. For details on wildfire prevention, contact your local Bureau of Forestry office.