Lack of rain puts Pike under fire alert

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 15, 2001

Staff Writer


Extremely dry and windy conditions have put Pike County and 32 other counties under a fire alert.

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The eastern half of Alabama was put under a fire alert Wednesday because of the lack of rainfall and threat of wildfire. State Forester Timothy C. Boyce issued the order that added 21 counties to those placed under fire alert last Thursday.

Counties added to the fire alert, this week, are: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Chambers, Coffee, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Montgomery, Pike, Russell and Tallapoosa.

In these counties, the Alabama Forestry Commission will restrict the issuance of permits to the discretion of the regional forester in that region.

Regional Forester Wayne Craft said no permits for outside burning are being issued in Pike County.

In the city limits of Troy, Fire Chief Ray Rhodes is also asking residents to be extra cautious with fire.

"We’re not going to be issuing any burn permits in the city of Troy," Rhodes said.

He said "whether it’s a pile of leaves or a big pile of debris" no permit will be issued because of the danger of a fire getting out of control and spreading.

Rhodes said his rain gauge at home recorded 1.5 inches on Oct. 13 and not a drop since then.

"That’s been it," Rhodes said of the lack of rainfall the past month.

Weather conditions are not favorable for rain in the next few days.

The fire alert and restrictions on burn permits are a result of drought conditions plaguing many of the southern states.

Lack of rainfall, low humidity and gusty winds have contributed to an increase in wildfire occurance, as well as the size of fires across much of the eastern half of the state. Foilage killed by frost and fallen leaves are providing additional fuel for fires, while wind and low humidity has lowered the ignition temperature of available fuel. Those conditions are an ideal atmosphere for an increase in the number of fires, as well as erratic fire behavior.

On Tuesday, there were 48 fires that burned 508 acres in Alabama. In the first 13 days of November, 507 fires burned 6,817 acres.