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Fire Alert in Alabama as Drought Continues

For citizens in Alabama, the drought is getting more severe day by day. The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) recently issued a statewide Fire Alert. While under a Fire Alert, permits for outdoor burning will be restricted. Anyone who burns a field, grassland, or woodland without a burn permit may be prosecuted for committing a Class B misdemeanor.

This burning restriction is being issued because of the current drought situation, continued lack of precipitation, and the high probability of fuel ignition. Weather predictions for the weekend include relative humidities under 20 percent and windy conditions with 15-30 mph gusts in areas. With this extremely dry weather, any fire can quickly spread out of control, damaging our forests, threatening lives, and destroying property.

It is not an outright ban on burns, but citizens are asked to avoid burning if at all possible, as any small fire could quickly burn out of control. Twenty fires were reported over the weekend from people who had outdoor burning get out of control.

Jeff Keener, a forestry specialist with the Alabama Forestry Commission, said, “This could be the most dangerous fall fire season since 2016, which saw numerous wildfires in our region, including the destructive fire in Gatlinburg.”

This Fire Alert will remain in effect until rescinded by the State Forester when conditions have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires. Call the Alabama Forestry Commission at (800) 392-5679 to report a wildfire. For more information on the current wildfire situation in the state or any other forestry-related issues, contact your local AFC office or visit the agency website at https://forestry.alabama.gov/Pages/Fire/Totals.aspx.