Pike County is back on fire alert list

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2000

Staff Report

Nov. 2, 2000 10 PM

One again Pike County is under alert.

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The Alabama Forestry Commission has extended a fire alert for the entire state because of continuing drought conditions the state has experienced over the past few months.

A fire alert means permits for burning forested and agricultural land will be restricted by the Alabama Forestry Commission.

The alert will remain in effect until there is sufficient rainfall, which is not expected in the next few days.

A fire alert had been placed on 31 counties and, on Wednesday, State Forester Timothy Boyce expanded the fire alert as firefighters fought two large wildfires in north Alabama.

But, the southern part of the state is feeling the heat, too.

Baldwin County has experienced fires on and off since August because of the dry conditions which make fires difficult to control. That fire has flared up again this week after first being detected in August. The organic soil in the swampy, remote area is so deep that firefighters are finding it difficult to plow a fire line extensive enough to entirely suppress the fire. It, too, has been burning very slowly because of low winds.

Firefighters have used shovels and rakes as well as bulldozers to build a fire line around a fire in Cherokee County that started on Saturday. Alabama Forestry Commission crews are working around the clock to contain the fire, which has burned about 350 acres. The fire has jumped firelines several times in the past few days and firefighters have had to continually extend firelines to contain breakovers. Luckily, the windshave been low and the fire has not spread at a fast pace.

Another fire in DeKalb County burned about 100 acres and Madison County firefighters were also fighting a wildfire in rough terrain on Wednesday.

According to the Alabama Forestry Commission, the state is averaging about 30 new wildfires a day. On Monday, 50 fires burned 406 acres, and on Tuesday 27 fires burned 168 acres across the state.

Alabama Forestry Commission officials are asking citizens to use caution while engaging in any outdoor activity that could cause a fire to escape beyond their control.

Should significant winds pick up, wildfire under these drought conditions can be deadly.