Planned burns likely source of smoke

Controlled burns in Union County, scheduled to avoid multiple rain showers expected to hit the area this week, could be to blame for a haze and stench of smoke that blanketed Lycoming County on Monday.

Wind moving from the south and southeast of the state could have brought with it smoke from Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County, Paul Head, National Weather Service meteorologist, said.

The weather service had 15 controlled burns scheduled for Monday, according to Head. “They are trying to get the prescribed burns out of the way before it rains this week,” he said.

Terrence Brady, press secretary for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, confirmed that Bald Eagle State Park held controlled burns during the warm April day.

“We do these when there are rare weather windows, based on safety and ability to accomplish their intent,” Brady said.

Some reports on the blazes stated that prescribed burns were taking place at Raymond B. Winter State Park in Union County, but park manager Michael Crowley said no burns were scheduled for Monday.

“There are no fires anywhere near any of those parks,” Crowley said in regard to the complex he oversees. Southern winds moving in from urban regions such as Harrisburg and Baltimore would have made the air moist and hazy, only adding to the smoke the winds picked up, Head said.