Fire alert lifted across Alabama
Published 11:00 pm Monday, July 18, 2011
After the state being thoroughly saturated with a good bit of rain, Gov. Robert Bentley and Linda Casey, state forester of Alabama, have rescinded the Drought Emergency (No Burn) Order for three coastal counties and has lifted the Fire Alert for the other 64 counties, including Pike County.
Officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) said, “the state has received enough rain over the last couple of weeks to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire.”
Balsie Butler, fire operation chief, said although the ban has been lifted it is important to exercise safety precautions when building a fire.
“Make sure you clear a fire brick around the area you will be burning, ‘fire brick,’ meaning they are digging down to the bare-mineral soil where there is no combustible fuel for the fire to escape,” Butler said. “Be mindful of the wind conditions, making sure that you don’t try to light a campfire on a windy day, which could blow embers away over the fire brick.”
Butler said it is also a good idea to have a bucket of water on hand to douse the fire if it looks like it is trying to get out of control.
“Make sure that once you leave the campfire, you soak it in water to make sure it is cold to the touch,” Butler said.
The AFC urges everyone planning on burning material outside to adhere to local laws regarding what material can and cannot be burned, as well as to follow any and all safety precautions.
“There are certain counties that still have local burn bans in place as well, so individuals really need to rely heavily on their local municipalities for direction on what is and is not legal to burn, or even if they can burn anything,” Butler said. “If they are allowed to burn, then seek direction from local municipalities about safety precautions that need to be put into place.”
Butler said the general rule is if the fire is more than a quarter-acre in size or within 25 feet of a forested area, then you must have a burn permit from the AFC.
Burning without a permit is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.
Burn permits may be obtained by calling 1-800-392-5679
The AFC is the state agency charged with protecting and sustaining Alabama’s forest resources.
To learn more about the services provided by the agency, contact and AFC county office or visit the web page at www.forestry.alabama.gov.