PENFIELD – The Moshannon State Forest and the Pennsylvania Game Commission are conducting a joint prescribed fire on State Forest Lands and the adjacent State Game Lands 103 on Monday.
Approximately 345 acres have been prepared for this operation, the larger portion on the Moshannon State Forest and the remainder on Game Lands 103. A detailed plan has been written by experienced fire staff and both local and out-of-state personnel will be assembling to conduct the actual burning operation.
Changes that have occurred to the forest in the proposed area since the logging era of the late 1800’s have not all been good for the ecosystem there. The early logging caused a change in the forest type that has continued to evolve due to heavy wildfires in the early 1900’s followed by diseases and insects, such as Chestnut Blight, the Oak Leaf Roller and most recently the Gypsy Moth infestations that killed so many of the oaks at the site.
The planned use of fire on this area will adjust the vegetation back toward prior forest types. This will meet some of the long range goals of both the DCNR Bureau of Forestry and the Pennsylvania Game Commission for public lands in the state. This will also enhance habitat for the benefit of many species of animals that only thrive under certain types of forest conditions.
Because of the scale of this operation, the public needs to be advised that considerable smoke will be visible in the area. Some local roads and highways may be affected for short periods of time during the actual burning stages.
Also of note is that there will be considerable activity by those conducting the prescribed fire that may make travelling on roads near the operation congested. The public is asked to avoid the area until the burning is completed in order to provide safety to both them and the fire personnel.
The “Governor’s Road” will be closed at Route 504 and near the Northern boundary of Game Lands 103 (access will be available to this point from Route 144) until fire operations activity is reduced.
Questions may be addressed to the Moshannon State Forest at 814-765-0821