The spring brush fire season usually ramps up between March and May.
This year has been one of the slowest seasons on record in Carbon County. According to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, there's only been 40 brush fires recorded this season in our area.
It's the first spring brush fire season since a new watch tower was built in Penn Forest Township, but it hasn't had to be manned much.
"The 2019 brush fire season is nonexistent almost," said Wesley Keller, forest fire specialist supervisor at the Bureau of Forestry.
Consistent patterns of rain have put a damper on wild fire season the past few years.
"2015 was the last busy year for this fire station so it's been a common trend for the past few years now that we're getting wetter," said Keller
That's good news for certain species of wildlife and plants.
"You're gonna see a lot more undergrowth, you're gonna see a lot more of the smaller plants thrive because traditionally that's what gets burnt off in a forest fire. Chipmunks and small mammals are gonna do well, songbirds are gonna do well because not only is there going to be more cover but there's more food for them to eat," said Franklin Klock, naturalist at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center.
But when some of those species are prospering, it's bad news for us.
"Ticks are going to do very, very well. They like wet, they like thick," added Klock.
Wet weather has also made it harder to conduct prescribed burns, which help natural hardwoods regenerate.
Another downside of the slow brush fire season is the impact it has on volunteer numbers.
"The last few years without fires, the interest has waned, so we haven't had as many volunteers as we used to. I only had four people interested in training in Carbon County," said Keller
That becomes a problem when there are fires needing to be put out.
"In two or three years when the weather pattern switches, we're in a dry pattern, now we don't have those trained volunteers to battle those fires again," added Keller.
The Bureau of Forestry says a quiet spring may just become the new norm.
"Spring may just not be the busy fire season anymore. We've had fires as late as December, January. So maybe the climate is changing and we'll just have to change with it," said Keller.