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Pa. DCNR probes cause of mountain fire

April 28, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

ROUZERVILLE, PA. -- The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was investigating the cause of Monday's mountain fire that ultimately consumed 37 acres in Washington Township, Pa.

DNCR Bureau of Forestry crews continued to monitor the woods north of Mentzer Gap Road on Tuesday for hot spots that could rekindle the blaze.

Blue Ridge (Pa.) Fire Lt. Tyke Smith said the fire had expanded to 37 acres by the time it was extinguished. No injuries or home damage were reported, although the fire got close to several mobile homes Monday afternoon.

Firefighters returned home for a couple hours, then were sent to an unrelated brush fire on the Mason-Dixon Line, Smith said. That fire on Pen Mar Road, at the railroad tracks, was contained to less than an acre, he said.

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DCNR spokesman Terrence Brady said forestry bureau personnel combated several blazes in recent days. The one in Washington Township is under investigation by the DCNR Michaux district foresters, he confirmed.

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a "red flag warning" for conditions that can contribute to a fire getting out of control. Wind gusts anticipated at more than 20 mph, rising temperatures and humidity in the single digits can create extremely unsafe conditions for burning, Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Jeff Sarver said.

"It makes for an exceptionally rapid fire spread. ... We have a lot of potential for more fires in the next 12 to 24 hours," Sarver said.

He said residents should refrain from outside burning until conditions improve.

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