Our opinion: We can all help prevent wildfires

For four days in early November Allegany National Forest firefighters fought a 62-acre wildfire in the area of Sugar Bay.

Despite the fire’s remote area, it was contained relatively quickly with no serious injuries or loss of property.

That’s a credit to the work of firefighters to corral the fire quickly and, frankly, a bit of good luck with the weather.

The greatest danger of wildfires in Pennsylvania occurs during the spring months of March, April, and May and the autumn months of October and November.

In Pennsylvania, 99% of all wildfires are caused by people with the most common causes being debris burning, equipment use, power lines and campfires.

While the cause of the Sugar Bay area fire hasn’t yet been publicly disclosed, the incident is a good reminder for anyone who uses the Allegany National Forest to practice safe burning practices and make sure hot equipment is handled carefully so that it doesn’t accidentally start a fire.

To paraphrase Smokey the Bear, only we can prevent most wildfires – and preventing a wildfire is far less difficult and far less dangerous than trying to contain one once it has started.

We were lucky a couple of weeks ago. That may not be the case next time.


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