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Bureau of Forestry event salutes forest fire warden for long service
State legislative proclamations, best wishes from friends and colleagues, and personal thanks and praise from DCNR’s secretary capped off a day in Lackawanna State Forest honoring a Pittston, Luzerne County, man who has served more than 50 years as a Pa. Forest Fire Warden.

Frank J. Nocito was honored Oct. 3 at a gathering at the Manny Gordon State Forest Picnic Area that saw him and other forest fire wardens and wildfire fighters take home warm thanks from DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti.

Pittston resident Frank J. Nocito, center, was honored for 50 years of service as a Pa. Forest Fire Warden in the Lackawanna State Forest District. He is flanked by state Rep. Mike Carroll (left) and District Forester Nicholas Lylo.
“I thank Mr. Nocito and all the others here who have served as forest fire wardens and have an extended history of serving long, volunteer hours to be the local eyes, ears and boots on the ground in detecting, fighting and preventing wildfires—often on private land,” Ferretti said.

“We may have 2.2 million acres of state forestlands, but we have 17 million acres of woodlands stretching across Pennsylvania—and we need all the help we can get from folks like Mr. Nocito when wildfire threats often soar in spring and fall.”

Noting “recent and widespread wildfire devastation in other states,” Ferretti told her listeners, “We must always be appreciative of the dedication of folks like you—our fire wardens, Bureau of Forestry firefighters, and volunteer fire company members.”

Spearheaded by Lackawanna State Forest District Forester Nicholas Lylo, the Nocito testimonial was attended by state Rep. Mike Carroll (D-118th), who presented the fire warden with a House of Representatives’ proclamation that echoed the sentiments of Lylo:

“Frank is one of those rare individuals who always put his duty first,” the district forester told the gathering. “It is this caliber of dedication exhibited by Mr. Nocito and fellow fire wardens across the state that makes the role of a district forester just a little bit easier.”

DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti and Smokey Bear joined friends and firefighting colleagues who turned out in force at a Lackawanna State Forest gathering to honor longtime fire warden Frank J. Nocito.

Nocito was hired in 1963 by the then-Pa. Department of Forest and Waters as a Pa. Forest Fire Inspector and was appointed soon after as a Pa. State Forest Fire Warden. In 1998, he retired from state service after working 35 years as a forest maintenance supervisor with the Lackawanna State Forest. However, he continued on as an active fire warden until the present time.

During his career, Nocito was in charge of fire suppression and prevention work in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. He was part of the great fire suppression effort during the drought years of 1963-64, which lead to a significant spike in wildfires in the district. More than 100 fires burned some 8,000 acres during that time.

Marked by a proud history in which their 100th anniversary will be celebrated in 2015, about 1,600 men and women serve as volunteer Pa. Forest Fire Wardens. Properly trained local forest fire wardens are appointed primarily to detect, extinguish and investigate wildfires. Wardens actively promote fire prevention in their community, often visiting schools and civic groups in a statewide, team-effort that earned them a national salute from the USDA Forest Service in 2013.

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October 15, 2014

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