An alert currently remains in-place alerting of the increased risk of Wildfires. On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Weather Advisory issued a ‘Red Flag Warning’ for most of the State, including all of our area. We spoke with the Nanty Glo Fire Chief about these specific days and how Firefighters prepare for them.
Nanty Glo Fire Chief Joe LaMantia Jr. Saying: “We prepare for it through our training, we always prepare for the worst-case scenarios.” Chief LaMantia says a fire on a Red Flag Day is an example of a worst-case scenario, adding: “Today they issued a Red Flag Warning which is a high probability for brush fires because of the warm temperatures, low humidity and the wind that’s going to be occurring throughout the day.”
LaMantia says because of the weather – fires that occur on Red Flag days have the tendency to spread quickly and cause significant damage before a crew can get on scene. LaMantia adding: “Depends how big it is by the time we get there. It is very breezy so the chance of it being significant and larger than normal is high. Twenty minutes, maybe up to several hours. It just depends on what vegetation it’s in and if it’s going up a hillside or down a ravine. It all depends on what the situation is.”
If a fire does occur, LaMantia says it could take multiple crews and resources to get it under control, saying: “It’s extremely important for everyone to work together. The fire could be very large which would take multiple, multiple crews so we could be several hundred feet apart to several yards apart so everyone has to do it what their told and work together as a team to get out in front of it and get it contained and hopefully everyone gets out of there safe and no damage.”
LaMantia says Red Flag days are something all Firefighters train for. LaMantia saying: “It’s not really much different than normal, however were a little more cognoscente of what’s going on in the area as far as our mutual aid departments because you may be pulling resources from further away so you might want to get them on the way quicker, just making sure were stocked up on extra drinking water.”
LaMantia says he feels lucky because – a few firefighters within the Nanty Glo Fire Department have also worked with forest fires in the past – so he says their input on Red Flag days are very helpful. LaMantia, in closing: “Hopefully it’s just something we hear about, and we don’t have to deal with directly but were always ready to take on what we need to.”
LaMantia stresses to refrain from burning anything – until we get some rain – which will help keep everything under control.