Forest Fire Warden Program Overview
Forest Fire Wardens have been engaged in forest fire protection work in Pennsylvania for nearly
100 years (5/13/1909). Their authority and responsibility is established by legislative mandate and
their work guided by policy and practice.
The Administrative Code of 1929 established the position of Chief Forest Fire Warden and provided
for the appointment of District Forest Fire Wardens and Local Forest Fire Wardens. Specific powers and duties were outlined for each classification. The Conservation and Natural Resources Act of
1995 (Act 18), creating the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources references this statute
and carries forward many of its provisions as current law.
Primarily, the Chief Forest Fire Warden is charged with the responsibility of assuring
reasonable protection from fire to woodlots, forest, and wild land, within the Commonwealth.
District Forest Fire Wardens act as the field representative of the Chief Forest Fire Warden.
Local Forest Fire Wardens are appointed to suppress and investigate wildfires and to engage in
fire prevention activities.
Along with the responsibility assigned to fire wardens, our legislators provided us with some
important powers. One very important power granted to all fire wardens is the authority to enter
upon any land at any time for the purpose of suppressing a wildfire. The law also provides local
forest fire wardens with the authority ... "to employ and train such other persons (Crewmembers) to
render assistance in extinguishing forest fires."
Today the need for skilled and dedicated Forest Fire Wardens and crewmembers is greater than
ever. As our resource values increase and homes appear in the wildland-urban interface our citizens
expect a prompt and effective response.