(WHTM) — Pennsylvania officials are warning residents of the risks of wildfires during the fall months. Thousands of acres of Pennsylvania woodlands are burned by wildfires each year.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has stated that the state has seen an increased number of wildfires in 2023, with the greatest danger of wildfires in Pennsylvania occurring during the autumn months, as well as during the months of March, April, and May.

The DCNR stated that the following conditions need to occur for a wildfire to start:

  • An available fuel source, such as dried grass or leaves
  • Dry conditions, including low relative humidity
  • An ignition source — some way for the fire to start

The department also asks those who start a fire at a home or a campsite to make sure that there are no combustible items within 10- feet of the fire. It is also recommended to have a rake or shovel,m as well as a water source to properly suppress the embers of a fire.

As quoted by the Bureau of Forestry, other tips include:

  • Clear the area around the fire prior to starting it;
  • Keep the fire small and never leave it unattended;
  • Before you strike a campfire match, first consider if it is too warm, dry, or windy for a fire and if the surrounding area is free of leaves and other combustibles;
  • Make sure there is a ready source of water (bucket or hose) nearby and a rake to extinguish any embers that might escape; and
  • When you are done with the fire put it out with water until all ashes are cold to the touch

The department said 99% of wildfires are caused by humans. Officials recommend checking DCNR’s website to see if there is an elevated fire risk.