Crews battle brushfires in Luzerne County

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LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fire crews were on the move throughout the area to battle several wildfires. Some proved to be a close call to burning nearby structures.

And with the warmer weather, the time is now to beware. Firefighters in the Back Mountain were busy responding to multiple brush fires on Tuesday.

Lynn Sheehan Jr., Deputy Chief Back Mountain Regional Fire & EMS, says he’s gone to at least a dozen brush fires in the last two weeks. Some even spread to nearby structures.

“Unfortunately people think ‘oh, it’s a nice day out I’m going to burn some trash or burn some brush’. The wind kicks up, and then we get called,” Sheehan said.

Ellen Shultzabarger, Director of the Bureau of Forestry says these warm, dry, windy spring days puts us smack in the middle of wildfire season in Pennsylvania.

“With these dry, spring conditions it really only takes a careless moment to accidentally ignite a wildfire,” Shultzabarger said.

Shultzabarger says so far this year, 548 wildfires have been reported in the state, burning about 1,000 acres, which is double the 10-year average for this time.

“More than 99 percent of Pennsylvania’s wildfires are caused by people, so that’s outdoor burning, like debris burning, or campfires,” Shultzabarger said.

Local fire departments are urging residents to use caution while burning to prevent wildfires from happening.

“They should have some way to extinguish that fire in a hurry, like a garden hose or fire extinguishers nearby, ready to go at a moment’s notice,” Sheehan said.

Sheehan offers this advice to residents: “Please don’t burn this time of the year. Please.”

The DCNR also posts observed and expected wildfire danger conditions throughout Pennsylvania daily. To see the map and how it affects your area, visit dcnr.pa.gov.

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