Local Officials Concerned Dry Conditions May Cause Wildfires

Officials in Mountain Top townships have expressed concern over dry conditions and lack of rainfall recently. These conditions can lead to the spread of wildfires in this heavily wooded area, if residents aren’t careful. Fairview Township has even gone as far as to enact a burn ban.

The Board of Supervisors in Fairview Township enacted the burn ban at its monthly meeting last week. The ban is in effect until further notice, meaning residents are not permitted to openly burn yard debris or any other combustible material.

Supervisor Robert Orloski suggested the burn ban at the May 5 meeting because of the lack of significant rainfall and higher temperatures creating dry conditions in the township. When the ground is so dry, the chance of brush fires spreading is increased.

To avoid a wildfire at this time, Orloski proposed that no one in the township be allowed to burn until further notice. The other supervisors, Russ Marhold and Mike Iorio, unanimously agreed and stated the ban would only be lifted when representatives of the Mountaintop Hose Company give their consent.

While other townships in Mountain Top haven’t enacted burn bans at this time, public officials ask that residents use caution if burning.

“We do encourage people to be very circumspect and we ask people to use common sense,” Marcia Thomas, chair of the Rice Township Board of Supervisors, related. “We do regulate burning in the township...And we do expect residents to actively monitor any burning that they are doing.”

Rice Township is serviced by the Wright Township Fire Department. In front of that fire hall, a sign is posted warning residents of the risk of forest fires, as well as alerting them to when conditions are severely dry.

Wright Township itself does not have a burn ban, because burning is not permitted in that township at any time, explained board Chairman Donald Zampetti. When townships have a population of over 5,000, burning is not allowed, he said.

Dorrance Township, which is more rural with a smaller population, also has not enacted a burn ban at this time according to Township Secretary Pat Davis, although she’s unsure if the topic will come up at the next board meeting.

When conditions are so dry, it’s not just townships that can enact burn bans, but state or county-wide bans can be made as well. “I’m not aware that the county or state has encouraged any sort of action to prohibit burning,”