PGC prepares for controlled burns in Centre County

The state Game Commission plans to resume controlled burns on the Scotia Barrens on State Game Lands 176 in Patton, Ferguson and Halfmoon townships, Centre County, to improve habitat conditions within the unique ecosystem.

Depending on conditions, the commission plans to burn up to five units totaling 340 acres. The potential burn window is through May 24.

The purpose is to restore the pitch pine and scrub oak ecosystem on the barrens.

Controlled burns are used by the Game Commission on game lands statewide to improve plant and wildlife habitats, and reduce the chance of wildfire.

Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management director William Capouillez said residents might see or smell smoke emerging from the Scotia Barrens during the burning.

“People become upset when there is smoke in the air if they don’t know the reason for the fire,” Capouillez said.