DCNR: Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Ron Minnich, Wildland Fire Program

Ron Minnich works in William Penn State Forest [Southeast Pennsylvania], where he assists with the wildland fire program. He previously worked in Delaware State Forest as a forest lookout.

His passion and dedication for wildfire prevention earned him the 2018 Arthur N. Creelman Memorial Award, which recognizes extraordinary effort in wildfire prevention in Pennsylvania.

Ron continually goes above and beyond with unmatched passion to attend and schedule wildfire prevention programs; and, in doing so, has developed an excellent rapport and network with the forest fire wardens.

He coordinates almost every program without any intervention.

After being in his line of work for many years, he understands that, “it’s just something that needs to be done, and I enjoy doing it.” He says the fire prevention work is a “message that needs to be out there…people don’t realize how important the work is.”

During 2018, Ron tallied 19 programs for his seasonal work year (March – November). His wildfire knowledge has been a great asset to his colleagues who work in DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry.

Fire prevention and mitigation programs often travel to schools, fairs, and even parades to spread the word about the dangers of forest fires.

“Ron shows initiative and routinely goes out of his way to get the job done,” says Derrick Etter, a forester at William Penn State Forest. “Prevention is his passion and I could think of no person that would be better suited for this award.”

Ron says that one of the most memorable fires he responded to was the 16-Mile Fire in 2016. The fire, caused by arson, was named for its starting point near Sixteen Mile Run east of Cresco, Pa. -- about 30 miles north of Easton.

The fire reached a size of almost 8,000 acres. The weather pattern caused the area to not get rain for quite a few days and the relative humidity dropped to extreme lows.

Compounding the issue, were the snags (dead trees). The area was hit hard by gypsy moths and about half of the trees were dead. This allowed firebrands to have accessible fuel to jump the fire lines that were in place.

Ron recalls being taken aback by the sheer size of it.

DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry is responsible for protecting the Commonwealth’s 17 million acres of public and private wildlands from damage by wildfire. This is accomplished by a combination of wildfire prevention, preparedness, suppression, and investigation.

Nominate Someone

Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature?  Send an email to DCNR at; ra-resource@pa.gov to nominate someone.

[For more information on Wildfires and how you can get involved as a Fire Warden or firefighter, visit DCNR’s Wildfire webpage.]

(Reprinted from the May 1 DCNR Resource newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Related Story:

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DCNR Proposes Replacing Recreational Value Lost From Gas Drilling On State Forest Land Bought With Federal Funds With Property In Chester County

[Posted: May 2, 2019]


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