Fire safety urged

Published 3:43 am Monday, July 3, 2006

A controlled burn briefly got out of hand Friday afternoon near East Brewton - a reminder of state forestry officials' encouragement to take precautions with outdoor fire.
The Alabama Forestry Commission does not have an official burn ban in place, but fire officials are urging residents to take all necessary safety precautions with outdoor fire.
In Escambia County, Flomaton and Atmore have passed burn bans for the time being.
Later in the day, Brewton firefighters responded to a grass fire on Lewis Lane in the Pea Ridge community. No problems were reported in the fire.
State forestry officials said recent rainfall brought temporary relief to many areas that had not seen rain in weeks. But the commission is urging everyone to be careful with all outdoor fire, especially during the long holiday weekend.
Along with the threat of damage or destruction from fire, forestry officials say the health threat from smoke as well as the safety of firefighters is also a concern. With temperatures higher in the summer months, the chance of firefighters suffering heat-related health problems is much higher.
This month 346 fires have burned 3,930 acres across the state. Since the beginning of the state fiscal year - Oct. 1, 2005 - Alabama has had 3,950 fires that have burned 57,679 acres. The states five year average is 4,000 fires for around $40,000 acres.
Anyone burning more than one-quarter of an acre or within 25 feet of a natural combustible material should obtain a permit to burn.
There are no charges for a permit and they can be obtained verbally by calling the toll free number located on the inside cover of your local telephone directory under emergency numbers. You should be able to give the section, township and range of the property where the burn will take place.
For more information, contact the local Alabama Forestry Commission office at 867-5368 or visit the Web page at