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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 9/7/2017

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 43 - Laurel Road Unit Four - Chester County - East and West Nantmeal Townships - Berks County - Caernarvon and Robeson Townships - 36 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: October 1, 2017 - November 17, 2017.

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 - Cardinal Units - Lebanon County, Swatara Township - 103 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: Late October - Mid November 2017.
Current Status: The spring burn window has closed in the southeast region. These units were not completed and will be reconsidered for the fall burn window in late October through mid November.

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: Late October - Mid November of 2017.
Current Status: The spring burn window has closed in the southeast region. These units were not completed and will be reconsidered for the fall burn window in late October through mid November

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 Commission website.

SGL 210 - Greenland East Burn Unit Three - Dauphin County - Jefferson Township - 98 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: October 1, 2017 - November 17, 2017.

SGL 210 - Powell's Creek Burn Unit - Dauphin County - Jefferson Township - 115 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: October 1, 2017 - November 17, 2017.

SGL 210 - Stone Cabin Burn Unit - Dauphin County - Jefferson Township - 405 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: October 1, 2017 - November 17, 2017.

SGL 211 – Third Mountain Unit – Dauphin County, Middle Paxton Township – 220 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: Late October - Mid November of 2017.
Current Status: The spring burn window has closed in the southeast region. This unit was not completed and will be reconsidered for the fall burn window in late October through mid November.

SGL 211 - Sharp Mountain West Burn Unit - Dauphin County - Middle Paxton Township - 1,140 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: October 1, 2017 - November 17, 2017.

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 231 – White Bird Slicer Burn – Somerset County, Elk and Summit Townships – 309 acres
Anticipated Burn Window: May 10, 2017.
Current Status: A tentative burn day is proposed for Wednesday May 10, 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.