Game Commission Prepares for Controlled Burns

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission today plans to resume controlled burns on the Scotia Barrens on State Game Land 176 in Patton, Ferguson and Halfmoon townships, Centre County, to improve habitat conditions within this unique ecosystem.

Depending on conditions, the Game Commission plans to burn one to two units, totaling 136 acres. The purpose is to restore the pitch pine/scrub oak ecosystem on the Scotia Barrens.

Controlled burns also are used by the Game Commission to improve plant and wildlife habitat, and reduce the chance of wildfire.

Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management director Bill Capouillez noted that residents might see smoke emerging from the Scotia Barrens during the burning.

“People become upset when there is smoke in the air if they don’t know the reason for the fire,” Capouillez said. “That’s why we’re trying to get the word out about prescribed fire. If we carefully plan and conduct a burn when weather conditions favor smoke dispersal, this reduces smoke-related problems. Dealing with a little bit of smoke now is infinitely better than trying to control a raging wildfire later.”

SGL 176 currently contains 6,231 acres in Ferguson, Half Moon and Patton townships.

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