70 Acres Burn Atop Mount Tammany, South of AT in Delaware Water Gap

Some 36 hours ago, the National Park Service in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWG) released an alert that a 70-acre wildfire was ablaze on the New Jersey side of the Red Dot trail atop Mount Tammany. The peak lies just Southeast of the official footpath of the Appalachian Trail, nearly 1,294 miles North of the AT’s Southern Terminus.

The wildfire began shortly after noon on Sunday, February 23rd, on a mild day in Worthington State Forest, adjacent to DWG. It is still too early to tell what the cause of the fire may have been, but officials say it is unlikely that weather or natural causes started the blaze. Sarah Johnson of the National Weather Service (NWS) states that the region is not currently under drought conditions, but that low precipitation and lack of snow cover this season could have played a part in this situation. The closest NWS reporting station to DWG, in Mount Pocono, Pa., has reported nearly two-and-a-half inches below normal rainfall dating back to December 1, 2019.

A New Jersey State Forest Fire Service helicopter was seen dropping several loads of water onto the flames until it was no longer safe to fly into the night sky. During this time, volunteer firefighters and specially trained park personnel filled many backpack water tanks and hauled them to the top of the 1,526-foot peak. The scene was easily spotted from both New Jersey and Pennsylvania along Interstate 80, causing heavy traffic delays in both directions.

This incident prompts us to remember the stewardship hikers owe the AT and the natural areas we recreate in. If you are going to be using public domain, remember to always practice Leave No Trace Principles.

Further updates can be found on the DWG National Recreation Area’s Facebook Page.

Photo via Associated Press

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