Will dry conditions give new meaning to flaming foliage?

It’s been a dry summer with below-average precipitation.

Consider the rainfall amounts for June, July and August, all below normal by a significant degree in Lycoming County.

Other counties in our region similarly received less rainfall than normal.

In Lycoming County, the National Weather Service recorded 2.3 inches of rainfall for June, or 2.2 inches less than the monthly average of 4.5 inches; 1.8 inches for July, or 2.4 inches less than the average 4.2; and 2.2 inches for August, or 1.7 inches less than the average 3.9 inches.

When you do the math, all of that adds up to extremely dry ground outside and a higher danger of wildfires this fall.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is warning those who venture out into state parks and forestlands to be cautious and guard against increased wildfire dangers in tinder-dry areas.

“Amid the pandemic, we know so many are seeking outdoors pursuits,” said Cindy Adams Dunn, DCNR secretary.

“Hunting soon will be popular and fall foliage is a joy to behold, but when the leaves begin dropping and drying, they become added fuel for woodland fires.”

Bruce Trego, state fire commissioner, also is sounding the warning bell about dry conditions that turn fields and forests into “accidents waiting to happen.”

“Amid these conditions, it takes only a careless moment to ignite a devastating wildfire,” Trego said.

We suggest that everyone, from outdoor enthusiasts to those heading out to view the changing color scheme in our hills, seriously consider these words of warning, lest that beautiful flaming foliage we so adore takes on an entirely different — and devastating — meaning.


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