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Controlled Burning

2017 Winter/Spring Burn Locations:  Controlled burning rejuvenates wildlife habitat and improves hunting opportunity. The Game Commission will be conducting controlled burns in some areas. Controlled burning rejuvenates wildlife habitat and improves hunting opportunity. The Game Commission will be conducting controlled burns February 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 controlled burns.

Controlled Burning to Improve Hunting Opportunity Controlled 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? Controlled burns are conducted under very specific weather and "fuel" conditions ensuring burns are low to moderate intensity (fuel refers to the dried leaves, grasses, and brush that are consumed in the burn). Additionally, controlled burns are normally repeated every 3 to 10 years, preventing fuels from building to dangerous levels. In this way, controlled burns also reduce the risk of unplanned wildfires. Controlled 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 burn lines to ensure safety, both for themselves and the public.

Is Wildlife Harmed? ​Controlled burn ignition patterns provide wildlife escape routes as the burn progresses. Burning during the right 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 controlled burning occurs in spring, we often hear concerns over impacts to ground nesting birds like turkeys and grouse. Controlled 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 controlled burns in the Game Commission blog, this 40-minute webinar on Fire's Role in the Pennsylvania Ecosystem, or by visiting the PA Prescribed Fire Council Facebook page.

2017 Burn Window Status

Updated 4/24/2017

SGL 25 - Elk County, City of St. Mary's - 597 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between mid March and early June.
Current Status: The public will be notified of the burn window status through the Game Commission website.

SGL 33 - Centre County, Rush Township - 1,990 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.
Current Status: The public will be notified of the burn window status through the Game Com-mission website.

SGL 42 - Somerset County and Westmoreland County - 860 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between mid March and early June.
Current Status: The public will be notified of the burn window status through the Game Commission website.

SGL 44 - Elk County - 1,123 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between mid March and early June.
Current Status: The public will be notified of the burn window status through the Game Commission website.

SGL 80 - Monroe Valley Unit - Lebanon County, Swatara Township -  476 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: February 21, 2017.
Current Status: This burn was completed on February 21, 2017.

SGL 80 - Cardinal Units - Lebanon County, Swatara Township - 103 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 30, 2017.
Current Status: The public will be notified when this burn becomes imminent through the Game Commission website.

SGL 100 - Centre County, Burnside Township - 462 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.
Current Status: The public will be notified when this burn becomes imminent through the Game Commission website.

SGL 106 – Bear Flats Units – Berks County, Windsor and Albany Township and Schuylkill County, West Brunswick Township – 274 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.
Current Status:  The public will be notified when this burn becomes imminent through the Game Commission website.

SGL 110 – Bear Creek Unit – Schuylkill County, Wayne Township – 623 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: April 18, 2017.
Current Status: This burn was completed on April 18th, 2017.

SGL 110 – Northkill Flat Unit – Berks County, Upper Tulpehocken and Upper Bern Townships – 1,508 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.
Current Status: The public will be notified when this burn becomes imminent through the Game Commission website.

SGL 156 – North Oak – Lancaster County, Penn Township – 52 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: April 13, 2017.
Current Status: This burn was completed on Tuesday April 13th 2017.

SGL 176 - Centre County, Halfmoon Township - 788 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.
Current Status: The public will be notified of the burn window status through the Game Com-mission website.

SGL 210 - Deerhead Unit - Dauphin County - Jefferson Township - 268 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: February 27, 2017.
Current Status: This burn was completed on February 27, 2017.

SGL 210 – Doc Jones/Nine O’clock Run Unit – Dauphin County, Jefferson Township – 1,369 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.
Current Status: : The public will be notified when this burn becomes imminent through the Game Commission website.

SGL 211 – Sharp Mountain East Unit – Dauphin County, Middle Paxton and East Hanover Township – 1,749
Anticipated Burn Window: April 11, 2017.
Current Status: This burn was completed on Tuesday April 11th 2017.

SGL 211 – Third Mountain Unit – Dauphin County, Middle Paxton Township – 220 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.
Current Status: The public will be notified when this burn becomes imminent through the Game Commission website.

SGL 211 - Wild Turkey East & West Units - Dauphin County - Middle Paxton Township - 130 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: April 10, 2017.
Current Status: This burn was completed on April 10th 2017.

SGL 211 – Highwall East Unit – Schuylkill County, Tremont Township – 86 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.
Current Status: The public will be notified when this burn becomes imminent through the Game Commission website.

SGL 228 – Longest Yard Burn – Somerset County, Shade Township – 414 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: April 13, 2017.
Current Status: A tentative burn day is proposed for Thursday April 13, 2017.

SGL 257 – Wildcat South Unit – Schuylkill County, Walker Township – 114 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.
Current Status: The public will be notified when this burn becomes imminent through the Game Commission website.

SGL 264 - Dauphin County, Williams Township and Schuylkill County, Hegins Township - 74 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: March 6, 2017.
Current Status: This burn was completed on March 6th 2017.

2017 Grassland Burn Window Status

Updated 4/25/2017

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.

Controlled Grassland Fire Planned For PA Game Commission State Game Lands 294 In Mercer County
Current Status: Based on weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss has given the go-ahead for this burn to be conducted on either April 27th or 28th.

Controlled Grassland Fire Planned For PA Game Commission State Game Lands 197 In Warren County
Current Status: Based on weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss has given the go-ahead for this burn to be conducted on April 26th.

Controlled Grassland Fire Planned For PA Game Commission State Game Lands 244 In Jefferson County
Current Status: Based on weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss has given the go-ahead for this burn to be conducted on April 24th & 25th.

Controlled Grassland Fire Planned For PA Game Commission State Game Lands 74 In Clarion County
Current Status: Based on weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss has given the go-ahead for this burn to be conducted on April 18th.

Controlled Grassland Fire Planned For PA Game Commission State Game Lands 72 & 330 In Clarion County
Current Status: Based on weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss has given the go-ahead for this burn to be conducted on April 13th & 14th.

Controlled Grassland Fire Planned For PA Game Commission State Game Lands In Crawford & Erie Counties
Current Status: Based on weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss has given the go-ahead for this burn to be conducted on April 13th & 14th.

Controlled Grassland Fire Planned For PA Game Commission Shenango Reservoir Area 415 In Mercer County
Current Status: Based on weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss has given the go-ahead for this burn to be conducted on April 10th.

Controlled Grassland Fire Planned For PA Game Commission State Game Lands 277 In Crawford County
Current Status: Based on weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss has given the go-ahead for this burn to be conducted on April 10th.