Pa. DCNR Honors Pike County Community in Preparation to Combat Wildfires

January 18, 2005

PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry officials have honored Hemlock Farms, a Pike County community, for working to prevent and being ready to fight wildfires.

“Pennsylvania’s wildfire prevention and control efforts hinge heavily on
preparation and caution, and officials and residents of Hemlock Farms have heeded our message well,” said John Berst, chief of the Bureau of Forestry’s Forest Fire Protection Division. “Hemlock Farms becomes Pennsylvania’s 31st community to be cited as part of DCNR’s Pennsylvania Firewise Community Program.”

Off Route 739 in Lords Valley, Hemlock Farms includes 2,562 homes with a population nearing 10,000 residents. At a community ceremony, Delaware State Forest District officials presented Firewise bronze-medal honors to community representatives for their successful incorporation of wildfire prevention and suppression into their Emergency Response and Action Plan.

The Pennsylvania Firewise Community Program is designed to aid
firefighters, and safeguard buildings and residents against wildfires in
wooded areas.

“Both Hemlock Farms developers and residents have worked closely with the Bureau of Forestry to reduce wildfire threats in their community,” said Berst.

As the agency responsible for protecting Pennsylvania’s forests from fire, DCNR is reportedly concerned with the increased risk of wildfire caused by the influx of residents into heavily wooded areas. DCNR offers Wildfire Hazard Mitigation grants to help communities reduce risks by financing planning costs, as well as removal of fire hazards, improvement of firebreaks and emergency access roads, and enhancement of public information efforts.

DCNR, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Office of the Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner formed the Firewise program in 1996.

Of the 31 Firewise communities throughout the state, three were recently recognized as National Firewise Communities for 2004 including Roaring Creek Forest property owners in Columbia County and Bear Creek Lakes and Hickory Run Land and Homeowners Development, both in Carbon County.

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