Fire continues to burn in Allegheny National Forest

A helicopter carrying water to the Cobham Hill Wildfire was seen Thursday near Allegheny River Ranch in Tidioute.

TIDIOUTE — As of early Friday afternoon, the Cobham Hill Wildfire was only about 10 percent contained, according to an Allegheny National Forest spokesperson.

“The fire at this time covers about 150 acres,” ANF Public Affairs Officer Chris Leeser told the newspaper. “I think the weather is in our favor, but the winds are kicking up. It is burning in really rugged terrain. There are hillsides burning and that will complicate things.”

Lesser said additional firefighters were due to arrive “from all over the state.” He said there are state, county and additional federal resources coming in from the U.S. Forest Service.

The wildfire, located northeast of Tidioute, was reported at 12:24 p.m. Thursday. A news release from the U.S. Forest Service said by mid-afternoon, the fire had spread to Allegheny National Forest.

Tidioute Volunteer Fire Department was first on the scene and was soon joined by crews from other volunteer fire departments.

The DCNR Bureau of Forestry and Forest Service are using a unified command structure, multiple agencies and organizations working together on suppression efforts. Those efforts successfully protected multiple structures that were threatened by the fire.

The Forest Service release said air resources brought in to fight the fire included a single engine air tanker, a reconnaissance plane and a helicopter with a water bucket used to dump water.

Additional fire crews and a Type 3 Incident Management team were scheduled to arrive Friday.

Lesser said the Type 3 team “is a management command structure that brings in people with more experience handling wildfires. It creates an incident command system and manages resources more efficiently.”

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

A second wildfire was reported near Hemlock Road near the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery. Additional information was not available.

Leeser urged people to be careful when they are burning debris.

“People are underestimating how dry it really is and how much debris is out there,” he said. “It is very easy for these fires to catch and spread.”

The fire has caused road closures and detours:

A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation news release said Cobham Road (Route 3020) in Watson Township is closed due to damage caused by forest fires in that area of Warren County.

The PennDOT release said the road is closed from the intersection at Route 62 to the intersection with Hearts Content Road. The closure is expected to remain in place until next week when staff from the Warren County maintenance facility can inspect the condition of pipes under the road and make repairs or replacements where needed.

A detour is posted using Route 62 and Route 337 (Route 3005).

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