Pa.

News for Immediate Release

March 10, 2011

Governor Corbett Proclaims March 13-19 Wildfire Prevention Week

Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett has proclaimed March 13-19 Wildfire Prevention Week in Pennsylvania, calling for increased vigilance in this season of rapidly changing weather and rising fire dangers amid the state’s wealth of woodlands.

“Despite recent abundant rainfall across much of the state, warming temperatures and drying March winds can cause wildfire dangers to spike almost overnight,” Governor Corbett said today. “Last spring brought many brush and woodlands fires, showing us how quickly our wealth of forest resources quickly can be endangered by acts of carelessness.”

Last spring, volunteer firefighters and Bureau of Forestry personnel battled more than 360 brush and forest fires that left almost 2,700 acres scorched.

“People cause 98 percent of wildfires,” Governor Corbett noted. “A mere spark by a careless person can touch off a devastating forest blaze during dry periods when conditions are especially ripe for wildfires to spread.

“Common sense must prevail to curtail this annual threat to lives and property,” said Gov. Corbett. “When state residents and forest visitors are careless with their smoking, or trash and campfires, volunteer firefighters often pay the price, answering call after call in spring woodlands that are ripe for damaging, life-threatening wildfires”

State Bureau of Forestry statistics show nearly 85 percent of Pennsylvania’s wildfires occur in March, April and May, before the greening of state woodlands and brush lands. Named for rapid spread through dormant dry vegetation, under windy conditions, wildfires annually scorch nearly 10,000 acres of state and private woodlands.

Anglers, campers and other state forest visitors are reminded open fires are prohibited on state forestland from March 1 to May 25, and when the fire danger is listed as high, very high, or extreme, unless authorized by district foresters.

Communities in heavily wooded areas are urged to follow wildfire prevention and suppression methods of the Pennsylvania Firewise Community Program to safeguard life and property.

DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry is responsible for prevention and suppression of wildfires on the commonwealth’s 17 million acres of state and private woodlands and brush lands. The bureau maintains a fire-detection system, and works with fire wardens and volunteer fire departments to ensure they are trained in the latest advances in fire prevention and suppression.

For more information on Wildfire Prevention Week activities, contact local district foresters; call the Bureau of Forestry at (717) 787-2925; or visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (select “Forestry” and then, “Forest Fire Protection”).

Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101.
Eric Shirk, Governor’s Office; 717-783-1116

Editor’s Note: The following is a copy of Governor Corbett’s proclamation naming March 13-19 Wildfire Prevention Week:

PROCLAMATION

PENNSYLVANIA WILDFIRE PREVENTION WEEK
March 13-19, 2011

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s bountiful woodlands and brush lands enrich the lives of both residents and visitors alike on a daily basis, providing irreplaceable habitat for countless flora and fauna species, a sustainable resource of timber and clean water, scenic recreational opportunities; and

WHEREAS, though both are sustainable resources, woodlands and brush lands quickly can be devastated by acts of carelessness. People are responsible for 98 percent of all wildfires, nearly 85 percent of which occur in March, April, and May prior to greening of our woodlands and brush lands; and

WHEREAS, wildfires annually devastate nearly 10,000 acres of state forest and even more private land; and threaten life, property, and the sustainability of our valuable natural resources; and

WHEREAS, wildfire prevention hinges heavily on public understanding and appreciation of these values. Precautions and vigilance must be everyone’s personal charge, so that we can continue enjoying Pennsylvania’s millions of acres of woodlands and brush lands, now and into the future. Communities in heavily wooded areas are urged to follow wildfire prevention and suppression methods of the Pennsylvania Firewise Community Program to safeguard life and property; and

WHEREAS, these commonsense guidelines aid the brave men and women who serve as volunteer forest firefighters of our community volunteer fire companies and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

THEREFORE, in recognition of the importance of protecting our woodlands, brush lands, life, property, and our natural resources, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim March 13-19, 2011, as WILDFIRE PREVENTION WEEK in Pennsylvania. I urge all Pennsylvanians and visitors to protect our valuable woodlands and brush lands by being meticulously cautious with the use of fire.

Given under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, on this third day of March in the year of our Lord, two thousand and eleven, and of the Commonwealth, the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

TOM CORBETT

Governor

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