Pennsylvania

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Pocono forest fire destroys more than 8,000 acres

Smoke rises from a fire in the Poconos that began a week ago and just came under control. The fire stretched 16 miles and burned 8,000 acres.

courtesy of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Smoke rises from a fire in the Poconos that began a week ago and just came under control. The fire stretched 16 miles and burned 8,000 acres.

Pennsylvania state forestry officials say a brush fire that’s consumed more than 8,000 acres of woodlands in the Poconos is finally under control.  It took about 130 firefighters to battle the blaze in Pike and Monroe counties, which has been burning for a week. Dubbed the “Sixteen Mile Fire,” it’s damaged about a dozen structures including some vacation cabins.

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources spokeswoman Chris Novak says spring is wildfire season in Pennsylvania.

“This particular spring has been especially dry,” said Novak. “We have not had the wet weather that we’ve had in the past couple of years. This is one of the largest fires we have had in the past 25 years.”

She says the rain on election day was a welcome relief and helped douse the flames.

“Dry conditions in the forest right now, as well as rugged terrain, some wind and also the fact that the area had a number of dead trees that were impacted by Gypsy moths, also helped to spread the fire.”

About 100 people were evacuated and portions of the Delaware State Forest remain closed. State investigators say arson is the cause. A $5000 dollar reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.

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