Over the last week or so, you may have noticed multiple large scale fires have happened across several counties in our area.
Our Dylan Huberman sat down with the Bedford County EMA director to find out whether or not this is out of the ordinary.
Mother Nature may be freezing all of us out, but that hasn’t stopped fires from burning. And according to officials, that’s normal.
“Winter is a dangerous time for for many people, for many different reasons. Fires tend to increase.”
There have been a number of large fires in our neighborhood, including last week’s Bedford Valley Petroleum Fire, as well as fires in Blair and Clearfield counties.
But Bedford County EMA director Dave Cubison says that’s not out of the ordinary.
“We are probably seeing the normal amount of fires that we do over the course of the winter. We have had some significant ones in a short period of time, which makes it seem much more
like, Wow, we’ve had a lot of fires.”
But he says ice and cold temperatures severely complicate emergency response efforts. While oxygen remains available for fires to burn,
“Not only do this machinery code over and driveways and everything around it, but people code over with ice.
The first responders are also at risk for becoming sick, for slipping and falling. Any any type of thing that can happen normally with ice is magnified at an emergency”
And poor ground conditions can also cause issues.
“If somebody is listening to the frequencies, often they’ll hear an incident commander calling for sand, aggregate, anti skid salt, whatever it is to put down on the roadway or put down
in the parking lot so that people don’t fall slip, or so the vehicles don’t slide.
Cubison says the hardest part of this time of year is to locate fires that are indoors before they erupt through windows and roofs.
“Whatever the building is, it’s closed up and windows are not open and it takes longer for some time. So if someone is not home for a window to break out or for the fire to be discovered,
and by the time it’s discovered, you’ve got such an involvement going on that it’s almost impossible to put out.
That’s one of the issues you have in the wintertime.”
As for what’s causing all of these fires, Cubison says many things could be to blame as every fire is different.