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Brush fire ignites at airport

By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Local fire departments suspect arson was the cause of spot fires that occurred near the Brewton Airport Saturday afternoon.
The Brewton Fire Department, East Brewton Fire Department and the Alabama Forestry Commission responded what appeared to be a brush fire south of the airport that ignited right after lunchtime.
According to Brewton Fire Chief Lawrence Weaver, it appeared that the fire originated on the Thomas Road and the south wind swept it into the brush and trees along Hwy. 41. The fire departments focused on keeping the fire away from hangers at the airport and the National Guard armory. Weaver said personnel were called into the armory to move some vehicles. The ground around some trailers was wet down with water hoses.
After the fire was believed to be under control, Weaver said it flared again and the decision was made to set a backfire to keep the flames away from the buildings.
Weaver said he would like for people to know that it can be very dangerous to burn.
Randy Cannon, Escambia County Manager with the AFC said he believed that the fire was intentional.
The AFC cites two types of alerts. A fire alert is when conditions exist that may cause a degradation of air quality, unusually large wildfires or an unmanageable number of wildfires, the state forester may issue a fire alert for specified counties.  This allows the AFC to restrict the issuing of burning permits.
A drought emergency is when conditions exist that may cause a fire situation that cannot be managed by the AFC. The governor may direct the state forester to declare a drought emergency for specific counties.  During this time, no outdoor burning is permitted.  The drought emergency is often referred to as a No Burn Order.
Local county and city laws may restrict outdoor burning. According to state law, a burning permit is required for all forestry and agricultural burns.  The permit means the burner has the manpower and equipment to control the fire and agrees to stay with the fire until it is out. 
Burning permits may be obtained by calling the AFC. Even though the burner has a permit, they are responsible for any damage to others that may be caused by the fire or smoke.