Dry Weather is Causing Fire Danger in SW Alabama

Dry Weather is Causing Fire Danger in SW Alabama

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With little to no appreciable rainfall over the last week in Southwest Alabama and only slight chances of rain over the next couple days, the Alabama Forestry Commission is urging everyone to use caution when burning outdoors. In fact, there is no significant precipitation predicted for the region in the long-range forecast. Weather conditions are such that any fire can quickly spread out of control, threatening lives, endangering homes and property, as well as resulting in damage to Alabama's forests.

According to AFC officials, there has been an increase in both the number and size of wildfires in the southwestern counties of the state over the last seven days, with Baldwin and Mobile counties having a major share of those. Over 2,000 acres have burned in these two counties alone in the last 30 days. AFC Regional Forester Gary Cole stated that the Forestry Commission has not issued any orders restricting burning at this time. "However, given the windy, dry conditions we're experiencing, we urge everyone to use extreme caution with all debris burning and outdoor fires," said Cole. "In the past few years, budget reductions have contributed to a decrease in the number of AFC wildland firefighting personnel, causing longer response times to wildfires," he continued. "These budget cuts have additionally created a situation where the Commission cannot replace its aging fleet of firefighting equipment."

It is an Alabama state law to obtain a burn permit before you burn any woodland, grassland, field, or wood debris greater than one quarter acre or within 25 feet of flammable material. To obtain a burn permit or for more information, call 1(800) 242-2504 or visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.

Be sure to clear down to mineral soil around the area to be burned. Have enough tools, equipment, and manpower to safely control your fire. Other safety measures include not burning on a windy day, and having a garden hose or other source of water nearby. Once started, stay with the fire until it is completely out. In the unfortunate event that a fire does get out of control, the Forestry Commission strongly recommends that you do not attempt to fight it yourself. Instead, call 911 immediately, then wait in a safe place for the arrival of the local volunteer fire department.

Citizens witnessing any woods arson or suspicious activity are encouraged to call and report it to the AFC's Wildland Arson/Forest Crimes Hotline. All information provided is confidential and the caller remains anonymous. This toll-free number is 1 (800) 222-2927.

The Alabama Forestry Commission is committed to protecting the state's invaluable forest assets, as well as serving the citizens and landowners across Alabama. For information on protecting your home from wildfire, outdoor burning safety, or the current wildfire situation, visit the AFC website at www.forestry.alabama.gov.

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