April showers may bring May flowers, but in Pennsylvania it brings one more thing: Peak wildfire season.
On Tuesday, officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) cautioned residents who may be taking up outdoor pursuits as the weather warms to beware dry and windy conditions, which could fan embers and campfires into full-blown forest fires.
In Pennsylvania, “more than 99 percent of wildfires are caused by people,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn noted in a statement.
“With dry spring conditions, it takes only a careless moment to ignite a devastating forest fire,” she said.
The most recent fire danger map places the eastern half of Pennsylvania at high risk for fires, with the southeastern edge of the commonwealth firmly in the “very high” range.
Areas west of Centre County are currently in the “moderate” risk range.
While there are currently no burn bans in place, campfires are prohibited in state forests from March 1 to May 25.
DCNR recorded two decades worth of wildfire data from 2000-2020, which shows that wildfires most frequently occur in the spring months of March, April and May in Pennsylvania with a lull in the summer months.
In 2020, Pennsylvania saw an exponential increase in wildfires statewide, according to DCNR data.