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Habitat Management




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Prescribed Fire

2016 Burn Window Status

2016 Burn Locations: Prescribed burning rejuvenates wildlife habitat and improves hunting opportunity. The Game Commission will be conducting prescribed burns in some areas. Prescribed burning rejuvenates wildlife habitat and improves hunting opportunity. The Game Commission will be conducting prescribed burns March through May. Game Land users should be aware of signs placed near potential burn areas. While access to the specific burn area will be closed on burn day, access will be re-opened soon after the burn, usually the next day. We often see wildlife coming in to fresh burns (even before the smoke clears) so wildlife watchers and spring turkey hunters should key in on these areas. This map informs the public of prescribed burns coming up in 2016.

Prescribed Burning to Improve Hunting Opportunity Prescribed burning improves wildlife habitat and hunting opportunity by: increasing soft mast production in shrubs like blueberry, huckleberry, and blackberry, rejuvenating succulent browse plants preferred by deer and elk, promoting oak habitats and their vitally important acorns, and maintaining grasses and broadleaf plants sought by brooding turkeys and grouse.

Is Burning the Woods Safe? Prescribed burns are conducted under very specific weather and "fuel" conditions ensuring fires are low to moderate intensity (fuel refers to the dried leaves, grasses, and brush that are consumed in the fire). Additionally, prescribed burns are normally repeated every 3 to 10 years, preventing fuels from building to dangerous levels. In this way, prescribed burns also reduce the risk of unplanned wild fires. Prescribed burns are conducted by highly trained crews with hundreds of hours of training and experience. Long before burn day, crews are planning operations and prepping fire lines to ensure safety, both for themselves and the public.

Is Wildlife Harmed? Prescribed burn ignition patterns provide wildlife escape routes as the burn progresses. Burning during appropriate weather conditions ensures spread rates are slow and flame heights are low. From fawns to turtles, even the slowest wildlife can reach safety. Before the smoke clears animals are often seen returning to burned areas. Because peak prescribed burning occurs in spring, we often hear concerns over impacts to ground nesting birds like turkeys and grouse. Prescribed burns may disrupt a few nests; however hens often re-nest and some nests in the burn area may not be harmed. Most importantly, burns occur on a relatively small percentage (less than 10%) of the landscape. In that light, the direct impacts are quite small and benefits far outweigh potential negatives.

Learn more about prescribed fire in the Game Commission blog or by visiting the PA Prescribed Fire Council Facebook page and keep an eye out for upcoming prescribed fire updates on the Game Commission's website. 


2016 Burn Window Status

Updated 3/30/2016

A safe and effective controlled burn is very dependent on both site and weather conditions. An anticipated burn window is established between time periods when optimum site and weather conditions could be present. As more exact weather and site conditions become known, the window for the burn is narrowed.

SGL 264 - Dauphin County - Wiconisco Township - Big Lick Burn - Unit 2 - 181 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: To be announced when anticipated date is established.

SGL 181 – York County – Lower Chanceford Township – Oakland Run Burn – Unit 1 & 2 – 122 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: Tentative approval for a burn the week of March 14th.

SGL 80 – Lebanon County – Swatara & Bethel Township – Monroe Valley Burn – Unit 1 – 476 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: Tentative approval for a burn the week of March 14th.

SGL 211 – Dauphin County – Middle Paxton & East Hanover Twp. – Sharp Mountain East Burn – 1,749 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 – April 15.
Current Status: To be announced when anticipated date is established.

SGL 211 – Dauphin County – Middle Paxton Township – White Oak Burn – Unit 1 – 106 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: We have a tentative GO from the Burn Boss for Wednesday, March 30th. The Burn Boss will verify the weather conditions and issue the final GO/NO-GO. Provided we stay in the GO phase, a test burn will be conducted first to check the fire behavior and smoke dispersion patterns for the day and make sure conditions are optimum for the burn. The burn will proceed only if the test burn is considered successful.

SGL 211 – Dauphin County – Middle Paxton Township – Third Mountain Burn – 220 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: To be announced when anticipated date is established.

SGL 211 – Dauphin County – Middle Paxton Township – Wild Turkey East & West Burn – 137 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: To be announced when anticipated date is established.

SGL 110 – Schuylkill County – Wayne Township – Bear Creek Burn – 623 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: To be announced when anticipated date is established.

SGL 156 – Lebanon County – South Lebanon Township – Lead Line Burn – 215 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: To be announced when anticipated date is established.

SGL 210 – Dauphin County – Jefferson Township – Nine O’clock Run Burn – 1,183 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: To be announced when anticipated date is established.

SGL 326 – Schuylkill County – Blythe Township – Wolf Mill Burn – Unit 4 – 248 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 - June 30.
Current Status: To be announced when anticipated date is established.

SGL 217— Schuylkill County - West Penn Township – Baer Rocks Burn – Unit 2 – 138 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 1 – November 18.
Current Status: To be announced when anticipated date is established.

No portlets in this column.
Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Ave, Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17110-9797