Cumberland Times-News

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April 24, 2014

Significant progress made in fighting Wills Mountain fire

— CENTERVILLE, Pa. — Active fire operations in the Wills Mountain fire were expected to be concluded by day’s end Thursday, according to Glen Bell, public information officer of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry.

“Fire crews made significant progress in constructing and securing control line about the Bear Den Fire yesterday. With the damp fuels, crews were able to extinguish most of the hot spots remaining near the control line on the southeast corner of the fire,” said Bell. He is a member of the Delaware incident management team, one of three such teams who have worked the Bear Den Fire that has consumed 900 acres of most state game lands on Wills Mountain in Bedford County.

The fire began at about 2 p.m., Saturday and was attacked initially by the Cumberland Valley Township Volunteer Fire Department with early assistance from the Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry.

Thursday, some crews had been released and about 40 firefighters were continuing to work the fire line.

The incident management team “will transition management of the fire to the local forest district on Friday morning,”  said Bell.

Due to the large size of the fire, residents were cautioned to presence of smoke in the area that was expected to continue until significant precipitation arrives in the area.

Fire officials said the Bear Den fire — named after a road in the Wills Mountain fire area — is the largest wild fire this year in Pennsylvania. The spring fire season continues through May.

Bell also continued to express thanks for local support throughout the six-day fire operation.

“Once again, we would like to extend our appreciation to all the local businesses and citizens who helped by either providing water, drinks, food and support to the Cumberland Valley Township Volunteer Fire Company with serving meals and putting together lunches for the firefighters,” said Bell. “The overwhelming support has been phenomenal.”

 

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