State says no to burn permits

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Staff Writer

July 18, 2000 10 PM

Air conditioners are running full blast as Alabamians try to keep cool.

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But, it’s in the forests and on the farms where the greatest problems occur because of 100-degree temperatures and little chance of rain.

The weather forecast has become like that old, broken record with each day being hot and dry.

National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Lorek said the above average temperatures are the result of a dome of high pressure and dry air over the state. In a few cases, scattered showers and thunderstorms, this week, may keep temperatures from reaching record highs.

On Monday, the Alabama Forestry Commission issued a fire alert for all 67 counties. That means no permits will be issued for outdoor burning.

All summer the Forestry Commission and local fire departments have kept their eyes on the nearly empty rain gauges to determine whether or not to issue a burn permit.

For farmers, a burn permit is the least of their worries.

They are dealing with how to prevent the loss of livestock.

U.S. Rep. Terry Everett said he has been working to help farmers in his Alabama district.

"This extreme weather has taken its toll on local farmers who’ve lost their cotton, corn and peanut crops," Everett said in a released statement. "Others have run out of hay to feed their underweight cattle and are being forced to sell off their hungry herds."

Without federal assistance, Everett said, 30 to 40 percent of the state’s farmers may have been forced out of business.

"I am committed to helping Alabama agriculture overcome the devastating effects of drought," Everett said. "Such efforts are necessary to ensure an adequate and affordable food supply for all Americans."

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has been hauling in hay to South Alabama.

Earlier this summer, the state department met with the Alabama National Guard and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency to map out plans for bringing in water for human comsumption and to purify water from rivers and lakes if it becomes necessary. Those measures have not been needed, yet.