BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP– Heat and hills were two factors challenging crews trying to put out a brush fire in a rugged area of Bear Creek Township Saturday.
While the smoke could be easily seen from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, for firefighters getting to the biggest flames proved difficult.
Captain Joseph Tavaglione of the Laurel Run Fire Department says, “With the wind conditions it decides to run, meaning that the fire goes along the mountain and burns whatever is in its path.”
A staging area was set up on sandpit road near route 115 from there vehicles faced a bumpy trip up the hill.
While crews found scorched ground where embers landed and started small fires, the core of the fire proved elusive.
We did find the smoldering remains of a campfire, but officials could not say if that was where the fire actually started.
Tavaglione adds, “It’s not a rare occasion in Bear Creek, a lot of people like to camp in the woods, and have a little campfire, the embers from the campfire blow into the dry leaves, and it goes from there.”
Even though the fire is about 3/4 of a mile away Whiskey Run Creek proved helpful. Cold creek water no only fillined up tankers, but also chilled beverages for firefighters to drink.
With crews working at least a 15 minute ride away from medical help. The hot weather is a real risk factor.
Asstant Chief Jolene Golubieski of the Bear Creek EMS says that risks include,”Heat exhaustion, basically people overworking themselves, not having enough hydration.”
Peter Cienciva lives just a few yards from where the emergency workers are staging. Though smoke and embers were floating through his yard he saw no reason to worry.
“We have a creek right down there, I don’t think anything will get past the creek.”
Around 5pm Saturday, Tavaglione reported that the fire was finally out, though firefighters would be on the scene for several more hours to clean up.