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Habitat Management

Reference


Controlled Burning

Controlled burns map image

Winter/Spring Burn Locations:  Controlled burning rejuvenates wildlife habitat and improves hunting opportunity. The Game Commission will be conducting controlled burns in some areas between February and 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. View a map of scheduled 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's website or Facebook page.

2018 Burn Window Status

Updated 10/1/2018

SGL 43 - Laurel Road Unit Four - Chester County - East and West Nantmeal Townships - Berks County - Caernarvon & Robeson Townships - 36 Acres
Anticipated burn window is October 1, 2018 – June 1, 2019.

SGL 46 - Black Oak Burn Unit - Lancaster County - Clay Township - 86 Acres
Anticipated burn window is October 1, 2018 – June 1, 2019.

SGL 46 - Eldres Run East and West Burn Units - Lancaster County - Clay Township - 158 Acres
Anticipated burn window is October 1, 2018 – June 1, 2019.

SGL 106 - Albany Point - Berks County, Albany Township - 260 acres.
Anticipated burn window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 106 - Hawk Hill Burn Unit - Berks and Schuylkill Counties - Albany, Windsor and West Brunswick Townships - 339 Acres
Anticipated burn window is October 1, 2018 – June 1, 2018.

SGL 110 - Two Rivers Unit 4 - Schuylkill County, West Brunswick Township - 317 acres.
Anticipated burn window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 132 - Triangle - Schuylkill County, Eldred Township - 20 acres.
Anticipated burn window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 145 - Boy Scout West - Lebanon County, South Londonderry Township - 69 acres.
Anticipated burn window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 156 - Powerline - Lebanon County, South Lebanon Township - 18 acres.
Anticipated burn window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 210 - Scarlet Lady Northeast and Northwest - Dauphin County - Jefferson Township - 131 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 210 - Greenland East Burn Unit 2 - Dauphin County - Jefferson Township - 86 Acres
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 210 - Big Level - Dauphin County, Jefferson Township - 99 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 210 - Henry's Hollow - Dauphin County, Jeffersion Township - 102 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 210 - Crazy Dutchman - Dauphin County, Jefferson Township - 659 arcres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 210 - Deerhead East - Dauphin County, Jefferson Township - 172 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 211 - Wooly Bugger Unit 1 & 2 - Dauphin County, Middle Paxton Township - 224 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 211 - Old Gapa - Dauphin County, Middle Paxton Township - 150 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 211 - Second Mountain - Lebanon County, Cold Spring Township - 1041 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 211 - Beaver Dam - Lebanon county, Cold Spring Township - 726 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 211 - Hawk - Lebanon County, Cold Spring Township - 1813 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 246 - Roundtop - Dauphin County, Londonderry Township - 257 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 257 - Walker North and South - Schuylkill County, Walker Township - 286 acres.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

SGL 326 - Wolf Mill Units 1, 2 & 4 - Schuylkill County, Blythe Township - 269 acrs.
Anticipated Burn Window is October 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019.

2018 Grassland Burn Window Status

Updated 3/16/2018

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 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 March 19th.