PA Forest Heritage Discovery Center

The Pennsylvania Forest Heritage Association – formerly the Pennsylvania Forest Fire Museum Association – will open its Discovery Center for the season on Memorial Day Weekend. The DSCN0255center is located at Caledonia State Park, outside of Fayetteville in Franklin County. The center is located in the stone building – built by the C.C.C. in the 1930s – directly across the street from the park office. It will be open from one to five p.m. on Saturday and Sundays and on Monday during Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day.

The Discovery Center tells the history of forest fire fighting in Pennsylvania with displays of tools, clothing and historical accounts of fire fighting wildfires. There is one room dedicated to Smokey Bear and his message of fire prevention. Visitors will have an opportunity to try a backpack pump and view a Type 3 Wildland Fire Engine used in the 1970s.

There is something for all ages and the knowledgeable staff is available to answer questions. Private tours and groups are welcome on other days with advance planning.

The Pennsylvania Forest Heritage Association has broadened its horizons to document, preserve and tell the story of Pennsylvania’s forests. Logging, charcoal making, railroads, mining and other industries that helped Pennsylvania grow were all dependent on Pennsylvania forests in order to prosper. Fire followed the axe as the vast forests of the state were cut. Through the efforts of a few visionaries the forests were allowed to re-grow and thrive. An effective fire protection system was developed along with a State Forest System that today encompasses 2.2 Million acres, that is approximately 13% of all the forested land in the Commonwealth.

Caledonia State Park is located just west of Gettysburg on U.S. Route 30 and offers all the amenities Pennsylvania’s state parks, including camping, picnicking, hiking and swimming. It is located in the heart of the Michaux State Forest.

For further information about the PA Forest Heritage Association, to become a member, receive the newsletter, or if you have artifacts to contribute more information can be found at http://www.paforestheritage.org/

Contact Peter Linehan 717-749-6089 or pel2@psu.edu to schedule a tour outside of normal operating hours.

90 Years Ago – The Owls Nest Fire

DSCN3392 (768x1024)On May 17, 1926 one of the largest fires Pennsylvania history, began in Elk County. It came to be called the Owls Nest Fire.  It tested the resolve and abilities  of the 3 year old Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters and the recently created Allegheny National Forest which had also been created in 1923.

In the spring of 1926 the state had been experiencing a dry spell. Fires over 1,000 acres in various parts of the state were common. Fires of 100 acres or more were barely mentioned in the press. Throughout April the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters continued to warn of the increasing fire danger. Most newspapers in Pennsylvania carried the warnings put out by the department at the request of George Wirt, Chief Forest Fire Warden.

On May 8, 1926 the Warren Tribune reported two fires that burned over 4,000 acres near Altoona and another fire of over 300 acres was reported in Clinton County. News reports tell of severe fires were burning in Jefferson County. On May 10, 1926 a large fire burned over Montour Ridge in Northumberland County.

Governor, Gifford Pinchot, who was also running for a U.S. Senate seat, issued a warning that was carried by the press across the state.

“Because of the extremely dry weather, forest fires are doing great damage in our State in spite of every effort that can be made by our fire fighting force, which is the best in America. Carelessness on the part of the public can start more fires than an army of men can put out.”  Pinchot seemed almost to be making a campaign speech. He continued, “I call upon every patriotic Pennsylvanian to exercise the greatest care to prevent forest fires during this dry time…..The forest is our friend. We ought to protect it, and being careful with fire is the most necessary way.”

On May 14, 1926 the New Castle News reported a 3,500 acre fire near Croydon in Elk County. Large fires were also reported in Juniata, Monroe and Schuylkill counties.

Extensive logging operations in northwestern Pennsylvania had left the area near Bear Creek in Elk County ripe for fire. On May 14, 1926 a fire had begun near Loleta, ten miles west of Owls Nest and two days later over 7,000 acres had burned.

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Owls Nest is located on the Hallton quadrangle, in Elk County

A first-hand account by U.S. Forest Service employee, R.N. Connaro as told to Larry Stotz, noted the weather had been dry for weeks and it was hot with a relative humidity of only 16%. “The stage was set for conflagration.”[1] The land in the Allegheny National Forest and a huge tract of land held by the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company had been cut over. Hemlock trees had been cut for bark. The bark had been peeled and left to lie in the sun to dry. The barked logs were left where they had been felled to dry through the summer and be more easily skidded to railway sidings in the fall and winter. The tops of the trees were left where they had fallen and dried in the hot sun.

The source of ignition of the Owl Creek Fire is unknown. Considering the proximity to the Loleta fire (between ten and twelve miles) and the prevailing winds it is possible that an ember from that fire settled into the cuttings near Owls Nest and smoldered until it built enough heat to burst into flame. Or it could have been a dropped match, or a spark from a steam engine that started the fire. The cause can never be known with any great certainty.

Crews from the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company and the Pennsylvania Gas Company began to battle the flames as soon as the fire was discovered. The crisscrossed logs, peeled bark and downed tree tops provided a massive amount of fuel and made fighting the fire extremely difficult. A lack of natural barriers, such as streams or mountain ridges allowed the fire to grow to massive proportions in a relatively quick time. The fire, fed by northwesterly winds drew in additional oxygen creating a firestorm. According to Conarro, “Many of the backfires hastily set around Company installations at the Owls Nest fire turned on those who set them and spread more fires over the land.”[2]

By late afternoon of May 17, firefighters from the Allegheny National Forest, under the direction of L. L. Bishop and state crews under the direction of the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters began to arrive to help fight the blaze.

On Tuesday, May 18, 1926 the first accounts of the fire at Owls Nest began to appear in the newspapers across the state. Some accounts refer to it as the Bear Creek Fire. The descriptions and locations of the fires were often confused in the press and the fact that multiple fires were burning across the state further complicated the press reports. An article on the fire put out over the United Press wire and carried by the Pittston Gazette on May 19, 1926 as well as other papers across the state reported, “In a frantic effort to check the forest fire that has swept over Elk and Potter counties for the last two days, members of the 16th Regiment Service Company stationed here (Ridgway) were called out to fight the blaze last night….”[3]  That would have been some fire as it would have had to have crossed through Cameron and/or McKean counties as well. It did not. Some newspaper reporters were geographically challenged and fact checking was not that important when a deadline neared.

Two men, reported as “Austrian wood cutters,” were trapped in the inferno and no mention is made of them ever being heard from again or whether or not their remains were found. According to a report by the International News Service and carried in The Daily News on May 18, 1926 as well as other newspapers,

TWO LUMBERJACKS BURNED TO DEATH

WARREN, Pa., May 18 – Two Austrian lumberjacks, whose names have not been learned, were burned to death in the Allegheny national forest fire, which is raging beyond control in Elk and McKean counties, according to word received today at the local state forestry office.

The men lost their lives while battling the flames in the Bear Creek district, reports stated. Already 5,000 acres of timberland have been burned over and the fire raging over and area 8 miles long and 2 miles wide, the forestry office announced.[4]

If the press reports were accurate relative to the size of the fire, an area 8 miles by 2 miles would encompass something slightly more than 10,200 acres. The fire continued to burn and finally with the help of timely rains was contained and extinguished nearly a week after it had begun. It is estimated that more than 23,000 acres had burned in what became known as the Owls Nest Fire. The Loleta Fire that had preceded the fire storm at Owls Nest burned an additional 8,000 acres and a smaller fire near Sackett covered an additional 500 acres, though the Sackett Fire was probably an extension or an outlier of the Owls Nest Fire.

When the damage was totaled over $2,000,000 was lost, over $26,800,000 in 2015 dollars. Somewhere between 12 and 15 million feet of lumber was lost to the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company. The Pennsylvania Gas Company sustained approximately $35,000 to pipelines and ancillary equipment. Railroads were damaged with burnt ties and warped rails and at least two lumber camps and equipment were lost. The press accounts state that more than 800 men were employed in fighting the fire.

The area would burn again in the coming years in multiple fires, though not of the magnitude of the 1926 fire. The soil was completely destroyed. Today – 90 years after the fire – the area is still largely devoid of good timber. DSCN3400 (1024x768)The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S. Forest Service are cooperators with the Ruffed Grouse Society in a grouse habitat management project over a large tract of the land. It is a prime example of how events of the past shape ecosystems of today and into the future.


[1] Conarro, Ray as told to Larry Stotz, “The Owl’s Nest Fire”, Pennsylvania Forests, Winter Issue, 1958.

[2] Conarro, Ray as told to Larry Stotz, “The Owl’s Nest Fire”, Pennsylvania Forests, Winter Issue, 1958.

[3] Pittston Gazette, Pittston, PA, May 19, 1926

[4] The Daily News, Mount Carmel, PA, May 18, 1926

Report From Monroe County

THE LARGEST FIRE IN DCNR HISTORY AND THE LARGEST OF THE CENTURY BURN IN MONROE AND PIKE COUNTIES

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Photo by of Ben Redinger

On Wednesday, April 20, 2016 as the Northeast was under a red flag fire danger warning, two fires, both set in at least two places broke out near the Pike – Monroe county line. The woods were dry. The area had a deficit of snowfall over the winter, and there hadn’t been significant rain in weeks. A bright spring sun was shining and gusty winds blew, a sign of a high pressure weather front moving in.

Towermen at Big Pocono and High Knob towers in Pennsylvania, as well as two towers in New Jersey were quick to spot the “smokes”. For those unfamiliar with forester vernacular, a “smoke” is smoke from a fire observed by a forest fire tower watcher – often called a “towerman” despite the fact that many who staff the towers are women. Using triangulation the location of the smoke can be determined with accuracy.

Forest District 19 was notified of the fires, as well as local fire departments to respond to the blazes. Two smokes were located between Upper Seese Hill Road and Lower Seese Hill Road in Barrett Township. The other two smokes were reported near Browns Lake about two miles away to the east.

Forest Fire Specialist Supervisor, Shaw Turner, headquartered at the Edgemere Station, was one of the first to respond. As he was travelling toward the fires near Browns Lake – which became known as the Sixteen Mile Fire – he realized the fires burning near Upper Seese Hill Road and Lower Seese Hill Road – that became the Bear Town Fire – was of greater importance because of the threats posed to residences and seasonal homes. Though the Sixteen Mile Fire was important, most of the resources committed to the fires first went to the Bear Town Fire.

Resources began to be marshalled. It was quickly apparent that these fires would be no ordinary fires. A Pennsylvania Type 3 Incident Management Team was called to handle the fires. According to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), “An All-Hazard (Type 3) IMT is a multi-agency/multi-jurisdiction team for extended incidents formed and managed at the State, regional or metropolitan level. It is a designated team of trained personnel from different departments, organizations, agencies, and jurisdictions within a state or DHS Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) region, activated to support incident management at incidents that extend beyond one operational period. All-Hazard IMTs are deployed as a team of 10-35 trained personnel to manage major and/or complex incidents requiring a significant number of local, regional, and state resources. They also manage incidents that extend into multiple operational periods and require written Incident Action Plans (IAP). An All-Hazard (Type 3) IMT may be utilized at incidents such as a tornado touchdown, earthquake, flood, or multi-day hostage/standoff situation. They are also utilized at planned mass-gathering type of events such as festivals, political rallies, state and national summits and conferences. An All-Hazard IMT may initially manage larger, more complex incidents that are later transitioned to a Type 2 or Type 1 IMT.”

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Photo by of Ben Redinger

Personnel from across the state were contacted. These people were not just firefighters, but persons trained in operations, planning, logistics, communications, safety, transportation, finance, and public information. Crews and wildland firefighting apparatus from across the state began to head to Swiftwater, the site of the Forest District 19 headquarters. From there they would be dispatched to various tasks associated with the containment, control and extinguishment of the fire. No job on the fire was unimportant. It was necessary that every person do their job, whether it was cutting a fire line in front of the rapidly advancing fire, or ordering the portable toilets to be delivered to the Delaware State Forest District Office.

Aircraft were called in to help stem the fires. Two fixed wing planes, under contract to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and based at Hazleton Airport and two helicopters based in Penn Forest Township, Carbon County began to drop fire retardant in an effort to give firefighters a chance to gain some measure of control of the fire. The retardant was FireIce, manufactured by GelTech in Jupiter, Florida. It is designed as a non-toxic material that can extinguish fire and when dropped in front of an approaching fire will act as a barrier to the fire moving forward. The helicopters used “Bambi Buckets” slung from a tether under the helicopter and carrying about 200 gallons of water and retardant. The fixed wing aircraft were the Air Tractor 802. The Air Tractor 802 can carry up to 800 gallons of water or retardant. Powered by either the standard PT6-67 factory engine or the upgraded Honeywell -14 the Air Tractors can cruise at 162 mph with a full load of water and 220 mph when empty. Today’s Air Tractors fill the role of both a small, fast plane and a plane that can carry enough water to douse a significant amount of fire.

Throughout the course of the fires the aircraft made drop after drop on both fires. The aircraft proved their value, especially the Bear Town Fire as drops were often made at the interface between the homeowners’ lawns and the burning forest. The helicopters were also used for aerial reconnaissance of the fires.

While most of Pennsylvania enjoyed the sunny weekend, the bright sun, and clear skies, it meant that fire conditions were deteriorating rapidly and the size and intensity of the fires were increasing. More resources were called for. On Monday, April 25, the Pennsylvania Incident Management Team transitioned to a National Type 2 Team. Jim Grant from Wisconsin was called in to be the incident commander. Catherine Koch, also from Wisconsin was assigned as the Chief Public Information Officer (PIO). Team members came from Maine, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Arkansas and other states to assist in the fight.

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The wooly adelgid had attacked many of the hemlocks in the area. They are the small white blobs on the twig.

The area where the fires were burning had suffered significant gypsy moth infestations in the past and the wooly adelgid has infested the hemlocks. Both insect pests contributed to the mass of standing fuel in the forest adding significant danger to firefighters as the snags burned. Mop up crews, entering the burn zone after main fire passed were subject to falling debris, as the dead burned trees, further weakened by fire could come crashing down with just a slight change in wind speed or direction.

Throughout the weekend and during the first part of the week the fires continued to grow. The Bear Town Fire, having burned near 600 acres was in reach of being contained. The Sixteen Mile Fire was continuing to grow.

On Sunday 135 residences were evacuated in the Sixteen Mile Fire. Five chose to shelter in place. During the height of the fire five buildings, including two leased camps, were burned and six others were damaged. No permanent residences were damaged. One firefighter had been treated for minor burns on his leg when hot embers got between his chainsaw chaps and pants.

To those not knowledgeable about fire terminology, contained may seem like something as simple as building a line around a fire to stop its spread. But it is more complex than that. Containment in its simplest terms means that a fire has been surrounded by a line of firebreaks, either constructed by firefighters, or infrastructure such as roads, or natural fire breaks such as streams, and the fire around the periphery along the fire breaks has been extinguished to such an extent that its spread beyond the firebreaks is unlikely. One week after its origin the Sixteen Mile Fire was only 85% contained.

When I left home on the morning of April 28, it was drizzling in Carlisle. As I approached Interstate 80 near Hazleton the sky began to lift and the sun occasionally broke through. I arrived at Forest District 19 Headquarters about mid-morning. The place was a hub of activity. The parking lot looked like an RV convention in a state DSCN3812 (1024x768)park. Various trailers, similar to those seen in camping areas, were parked across the parking lot. They had decals indicating that they were from PEMA or DCNR and each trailer housed a specific work unit – communications, operations, public information, etc. Men and women walked by talking on cell phones or carrying papers. They moved with a purpose, but you could see it in their eyes that the battle entering its eight day was beginning to wear on them.

I checked in with the PIO, as required of all members of the press. Cecile Stelter, the District Forester from the Cornplanter Forest District 14 in northwestern Pennsylvania was the PIO assigned to provide me with information. She in turn introduced me to Robert (Marty) Martynowych, a Service Forester in the Weiser Forest District 18 in central-eastern Pennsylvania and a PIO in training. We discussed the fires, fire behavior and the process that was occurring both at the office and on the firegrounds.

I was anxious to see the fires and what damage had been done. Cecile and Marty began the effort to make that happen. One would think that it would be a simple matter of them saying, “Get in the truck and let’s go,” but it’s not that simple. They contacted the various division chiefs to ascertain whether or not travel to the fires was possible. A number of years ago, when I was an active firefighter, it was not uncommon to be working on a fire line and have an un-escorted member of the press, a reporter or photographer show up seemingly out of nowhere. Today, rightly so, the press and the public are pretty much banned from the fireground. It is not because the fire crews are trying to hide what they are doing, but rather it is because the IMT is concerned with their safety. The unofficial motto of today’s fireground is “Everybody goes home safe!”

Marty took me over to the supply trailer where I signed out a yellow Nomex shirt, green pants, a hardhat and gloves; the standard DSCN3819 (1024x768)clothing for wildland firefighters. Then after changing into the gear we sat and waited for clearance from the Division Chiefs on the fire. I would be allowed to go to the Bear Town Fire and see the results of the fire. Because of the post-fire work being conducted, the Sixteen Mile Fire was still off limits.

As we waited Cecile supplied additional information. The Bear Town Fire was officially contained at 612 acres. The Sixteen Mile Fire was listed as 90 percent contained at 8,032 acres. To that point they had utilized 2 Type 1 crews, 2 Type 2 crews, 15 engines, 4 dozers and two Barko timber harvesters. In addition to the two fixed wing planes based at Hazleton, three other planes under contract to DCNR that were based at Mid-State Airport in Centre County had been transferred to Hazleton to assist. The fires had burned on both private and state land with about 70% of the land being privately owned and the remaining 30% being part of the Delaware State Forest. More than 150 firefighters and support personnel, including local firefighters from surrounding volunteer fire companies and fire warden crews had been working on the fires since they began.

The Type 1 crews came from Menominee, Michigan and the Smokey Bear Hotshots were from New Mexico. They had been working fires in the Shenandoah National Forest and were rotated to Pennsylvania when heavy rains doused that fire. Pennsylvania has no Type 1 crews of its own.

The timber harvesters were something new to me on a fireground. They are essentially a modified track hoe with a hydraulically operated clamp that will grasp the tree, while a large, very fast moving chainsaw located several feet below the clamp will cut the tree off near its base. The operator can then move the cut tree to the desired location. Tim Dugan, the District Forester in the Delaware State Forest told me, it is an efficient and safer method to remove fire damaged trees. As they widen the containment line, unburned trees are placed on the green side of the line and burned trees are placed on the black side of the line to ensure any remaining embers don’t come to life on the unburned side of the line. As a former sawyer on fires, I could easily see how much safer the harvester was to use. Much of the timber, both blackened and green will be marketable.

Finally, around noon we got clearance to head to the Bear Town Fire. I got in Marty’s truck and we went over to Bear Town Road where we met Tom from WBRE television in Stroudsburg who wanted some additional footage for the local news.

As we walked through the east end of the Bear Town Fire it was apparent that the fire had not burned with the same intensity throughout the fire. In some places the fire crossed over the forest floor burning only the leaf litter on top of the ground. In other places the fire had burned with such intensity that flame scaring was visible more than twenty feet high on the still standing tree trunks. KickingDSCN3822 (1024x768) aside the char on the ground in those places revealed only mineral soil. Fuel load, topography, wind direction and weather had all played a part in the intensity of the burn. At one time the fire speed on the Sixteen Mile Fire was estimated as 80 chains per hour.  A chain is a rather antiquated measurement term still used for measuring fire spread. One chain is 66 feet.  80 chains/hour is equal to 1 mile per hour. While that may not seem fast at all to a person driving 70 MPH on the interstate, in a fire situation that is moving incredibly fast, especially in Pennsylvania. The fires had crowned in a few places but for all intents and purposes these were just intense, fast-moving ground fires.DSCN3849

Already the forest is beginning to recover. Birds such as woodpeckers, blue jays and other were seen flitting through the forest. A turkey gobbled over the hill, clearly inside the burn area. A chipmunk scrambled over a downed log near a wetland that had not burned. Forest recovery will come surprisingly quickly for some portions of the forest inside burn zone.  For some portions recovery will take years.

We then headed over to an old log landing that was acting as a staging area for crews doing “suppression repair.” That’s the new term for line rehabilitation or rehab. Shannon Gurney was the Division Chief in charge of the suppression repair efforts. In her normal job she is a Battalion Chief in the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. As part of the IMT she was supervising the suppression repair efforts on the Bear Town Fire. Efforts revolved around re-grading the dozer lines and planting them with fast growing grass to prevent erosion, replacing damaged culverts and grading in water bars. Gates that had been damaged during the fire operations were repaired or replaced. It is an effort to get the land back to near normal as quickly as possible. Because the Bear Town Fire was entirely on private land, staff at the command center was diligently engaged in contacting landowners to get their permission to complete repairs.

DSCN3847 (1024x768)Earlier Tim Dugan had told me that doing repairs to the fire damaged lands had done much to enhance DCNR-landowner cooperation. Many landowners were actually surprised that DCNR was willing to help with the restoration efforts. I rode with Adam Kling, the Fire Forester in the Tuscarora District who in a Heavy Equipment Trainee on the IMT. A track hoe and bulldozer had been moved in to work or the suppression repair efforts. A saw team was working ahead of us as we walked down the line. We stopped and watched as the saw team of six people from the Forbes State Forest felled a dead snag. Adam radioed ahead once the tree was down to make sure we could safely proceed down the line. It’s all about safety and going home safe. A light mist began to fall as we walked back to the truck.

As of noon on April 28, 2016, Pennsylvania 379 fires had burned 10,411 acres. 202 of those fires had been caused by debris burners and covered 521 acres. 79 of the fires had been intentionally set and had burned 9,745 acres. The Sixteen Mile Fire was the largest fire in Pennsylvania since 1990 when the Two Rock Fire burned nearly 10,000 acres in the Sproul State Forest. This is the worst fire of the 21st century and the worst fire in the history of DCNR. For the first time since 1990 that more than 10,000 acres have burned in Pennsylvania. One must also remember that the spring fire season will continue until May 31 and the fall fire season will also have to be considered. If precipitation deficits continue, summer fires are a real possibility. The Sixteen Mile Fire is the worst fire in the history of DCNR.

DCNR and an anonymous donor have offered a $10,000 reward leading to the arrest of those responsible for setting the fire. Anyone with information is asked to call 717-362-1472 or 570-895-4000. If you are planning on fishing or vacationing in the area, especially if you plan on utilizing any of the campgrounds in the area please call ahead to the Delaware State Forest District Office at 570-895-4000 to find out what roads and campgrounds are open

The fires burned in the Brodhead and Bushkill Creeks watersheds. To trout anglers those are storied waters. What the effects of the fires on streams will be, remain to be seen. As I got into my car to head home, the parking lot at District 19 was still full of cars and people were still moving to and fro with a purpose. The efforts will continue for some time to come, though as the critical issues are addressed teams will be de-mobilized bit by bit. I turn on my windshield wipers and begin the long wet drive home. I tell myself that the next time I come to the area I will bring a flyrod. I try to keep a good thought.

The Sixteen Mile fire was contained on Sunday, May 1, 2016. The IMT transitioned back to the Delaware State Forest on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The fires may be out but repair and salvage work will continue for some time. Due to the continuing danger from falling burned trees, many roads in the area are closed. At this time damage to the streams has not been assessed. Suppression repair efforts are ongoing to prevent erosion into streams. These efforts are expected to last quite some time.

DCNR and an anonymous donor have offered a $10,000 reward leading to the arrest of those responsible for setting the fire. Anyone with information is asked to call 717-362-1472 or 570-895-4000. If you are planning on fishing or vacationing in the area, especially if you plan on utilizing any of the campgrounds in the area please call ahead to the Delaware State Forest District Office at 570-895-4000 to find out what roads and campgrounds are open.  Be careful out there and remember, “Only you can prevent wildfires!”

 

Worst Fire In The History of DCNR & The Worst of the Century

DSCN3849Pennsylvania has just experienced the worst wildfire of the century and the worst in DCNR’s history. Two blazes set at the same time by arsonists burned in the Brodhead Creek and Big Bushkill Creek watersheds. The Sixteen Mile Fire burned 8,032 acres and the Beartown Fire burned 612 acres in the Brodhead watershed. The fires have destroyed or damaged 2 leased cabins, 3 seasonal homes and 6 outbuildings. Due to the continuing danger from falling burned trees, many roads in the area are closed. At this time damage to the streams has not been assessed. Suppression repair efforts are ongoing to prevent erosion into streams. These efforts are expected to last quite some time.

DCNR and an anonymous donor have offered a $10,000 reward leading to the arrest of those responsible for setting the fire. Anyone with information is asked to call 717-362-1472 or 570-895-4000. If you are planning on fishing or vacationing in the area, especially if you plan on utilizing any of the campgrounds in the area please call ahead to the Delaware State Forest District Office at 570-895-4000 to find out what roads and campgrounds are open. Be careful out there and remember, “Only you can prevent wildfires!”

A full report on the fires will be coming in a few days.