french creek state park is on fire

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

UPDATE: Tuesday Morning – waiting to hear from my friends. Fire is still burning.  NBC10 Philadelphia and other media outlets  needs to correct their current coverage as they report this as only Berks County with no mention of Chester County:

“A forest fire is burning at French Creek State Park in Berks County. Nearby homes were evacuated Tuesday morning. 100 acres have burned so far.”

The Pottstown Mercury has updated by saying:

A brush fire that started in the area of Route 345 and Shed Road steadily moved east with Monday’s strong winds and continued into the night as hundreds of personnel worked to knock the blaze down. Black smoke was visible as far away as the Hanover Street Bridge in Pottstown early in the afternoon, shortly after the first reports of the fire came in around 2 p.m……  At the conference, Joe Frassetta, district manager of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, said crews were first dispatched around 12:20 p.m. and encountered an out of control blaze initially affecting 10 acres. He said the fire was along some power lines running through French Creek State Park.    The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is in charge of the scene. Approximately 30 companies and more than 300 people were actively involved with the fire, Frasseta said. A handful of areas in Union, North Coventry, Warwick and South Coventry were evacuated ahead of the flames….Bulldozers and other heavy equipment were used to protect homes on St. Peters Road, which were “threatened,” Frassetta said at Monday night’s press conference. “(The fire) has not been contained and residents have been asked to evacuate,” he said….Salaneck said it was his “understanding (that) the fire was started by downed power lines.” Frassetta said the origin of the blaze was undetermined at that time.

My friend  Si who is out  at a camp gound near French Creek told me there is a brush fire spreading across French Creek State Park.He left me a message earlier  that said that he and his friend Tim are a couple miles from French Creek and he describes it as a “massive brush fire, with the winds fanning it like crazy…it looks like at least 10 fire companies are responding.”

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

My friend has photos and will send them as he is able. I have a few to post now.  I am told CBS-3 is in the area now.  Again, they are at the camp ground a couple miles from French Creek – near St. Peter’s Village in Warwick Township. He just called again and says the top of the ridge that was smoke before is all aglow in orange.  He can see two ridges of fire with a break in between.  They see the flash lights of fire fighters in the woods.

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

Here is what the Pottstown Mercury is saying:

(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) Officials have issued a mandatory evacuation for residences along St. Peters Road between North Camp Hill Road and Unionvill Road in North Coventry as a brush fire that began on state parkland spread across parts of Berks and Chester county Monday…..A fire that started as a brush fire in the area of Route 345 and Shed Road has been spreading through the afternoon and now engulfs a large section of state gameland and park land according to witnesses.

The fire is reported to be spewing heavy smoke from Hopewell Road to Shed Road and may be burning as much as 100 acres near French Creek State Park….Amity and Monarch fire company crews were at the International Fireworks plant on Sycamore Road as a precaution, according to a witness.

  Dozens of fire trucks from all over the region are being called in to the fight the fire.

 Three staging areas that we know of have been set up. They are at Route 345 and Shed Road, Route 345 and Hopewell Road, both in Union Township, and on St. Peter’s Road in North Coventry Township.

  Mercury reporter Frank Otto is at one of those staging areas and said the fire is generating “a lot of smoke” and seems to be burning “south of Hopewell Furnace” National Historic Site.

WFMZ is reporting:

Forest fire nears fireworks factory; evacuations ordered

Shelter established at Immaculate Conception social hall in Birdsboro

UNION TWP., Pa. –

A forest fire in the French Creek State Park has prompted the mandatory evacuations of nearby residents.

The fire was first reported Monday afternoon in the 500 block of Fire Tower Road in Union Twp., Berks Co. Firefighters from several surrounding municipalities have since been called in to help fight the flames.

A 69 News crew on the scene reports that much of the fire is in the wooded area of French Creek, but crews are taking steps to keep it from spreading to the nearby International Fireworks factory at 240 Sycamore Rd.