Controlled burn set for Game Lands

Game Commission plans operation near Raystown Lake

From Mirror staff reports

The Pennsylvania Game Com­mission plans to conduct a controlled burn in the Southcentral Region’s Area 420 near Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County next week.

The burn will be conducted only if weather conditions are favorable.

The 342-acre forested burn is within the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Mitigation area. The defined burn unit was selected to decrease the white pine component to release and further promote oak regeneration as well as increasing the native grass component.

Controlled burning every three to five years is planned to maintain the oak-woodland savannah forest type benefitting both game and non-game wildlife species.

“Ignitions for this burn will be unique due to the fact over 3 miles will be done from boat along the shoreline of the burn unit,” Brent McNeal, assistant region forester and burn boss, said. All controlled burns are conducted by highly-trained crews from the region and other agencies to ensure the safety of themselves and the public.

Actual operations are dependent on current weather and site conditions. Even if reported conditions are favorable, a “test burn” will be conducted to observe fire behavior and smoke dispersion patterns to ensure on-site conditions reflect the same. Results of this small test fire will be the final determining factor for the operation to proceed.

When a decision is made to go ahead with a burn, the specific county 911 centers, local police and emergency and township offices where the game land is located are notified. During the operational period, all access to the site will be restricted to trained staff directly associated with the burn.

As a result of the burn, the public may see smoke on the game land any day next week, primarily be­tween the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

For more information about controlled fire, visit the Pennsyl­vania Prescribed Fire Council web­site at www.paprescribedfire.org. Additional information about wildlife and habitat management specifically related to prescribe fire also may be found on the Game Commission’s website at www.pgc.pa.gov.