State burn ban lifted

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley and the Alabama Forestry Commission have officially lifted the No Burn order for Alabama after heavy rains relieved the state from drought over the weekend.

Bentley said in a statement Monday that Alabama Forestry Commission officials say the state has received enough rainfall over the last few days to reduce the threat of dangerous wildfires.

Bentley said the forestry commission now believes “the worst of the drought has ended.”

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The rain came just in time for Pike County, as grass and brush fires were on the rise in recent weeks, possibly by as much as 35 percent according to Troy Fire Chief Michael “Buford” Stephens.

Several other southern states faced the same problem in recent months, including Tennessee, which saw the popular vacation spot of Gatlinburg scathed by a historic fire last week.

Goshen firefighter Shane Chance believes enough rain has fallen to return to normalcy.

“I believe we’ve got enough rain for everything to get back to normal,” Chance said. “If everybody would practice safe fire tips and just be vigilant about fires, everything will be great.”

Interim State Forester Gary Cole said that if exceptionally dry conditions return, it may be necessary to issue new fire alerts or no-burn orders in affected areas.

Although outdoor burning is now legal again in Pike County, the City of Troy continues its regular year-round no-burn ordinance.