By Libby Rosequist
After assisting multiple brush fires in the surrounding counties, North East Fire Department Chief Dave Meehl enacted a fire ban in North East on Monday, March 22.
“The burn ban has been put in place to hopefully bring attention to the residents and be more cautious moving forward,” Meehl said. “The weather has been dry and extremely windy and it won’t take much for something to spark and we want to ensure we are doing what we can to protect the community.”
Starting Sunday, March 21, Fuller Hose Co. assisted Greenfield Township Volunteer Fire Co. with three brush fires.
Crews used hand tools and a forestry line to contain and extinguish all three fires.
Monday, Fuller was dispatched to assist on a large brush fire on the 11000 block of Phillipsville Road in Wattsburg.
Brush 216, Tanker 206 and Utility 219 responded and assisted on scene containing and extinguishing the five-acre fire in the woods.
Crescent Hose Co. and Fuller assisted on a brush fire along railroad tracks in Harborcreek on Tuesday, March 23.
During this call, a brush fire began in North East on Townline Road where Greenfield Township Volunteer Fire Co. assisted until NEFD fully arrived on scene.
“Burn bans are only effective if the community takes them seriously and word can get out to everyone,” Erie County Fire Warden Don Erbin said. “I hope everyone takes caution and uses common sense moving forward. Always be mindful of the weather and wind and make sure any fire that is started can be maintained by keeping water close by.”
The burn ban is temporary and will be reassessed after Easter.
“We are here to protect North East and the surrounding counties and this burn ban is meant to slow down any possible future brush fires as the ground is very dry,” Meehl said. “We have not had enough rain and we need things to be a little greener before we are comfortable lifting it.”
During the ban no fires should be started, including the burning of trash, wood, brush or yard clippings.
“In the township people are usually respectful of the rules and comply if a burn ban is in place,” Township Supervisor Frederick Shunk said. “We don’t have the manpower to drive around to enforce it and rely on the community to give us a call for any concern they may have.
“But the best thing to do now is just be mindful of your surroundings, keep an eye on the weather and always be prepared for any outcome when dealing with fire.”
North East Borough Manager Pat Gehrlein was not available for comment.