Officials warn about illegal burning

Published 8:01 am Monday, March 16, 2009

By By Lisa Tindell
news editor

More than 20 acres of forestland has been burned this week as the result of two brush fires getting out of hand.
What started out as a burning pile of leaves Tuesday evening in Appleton put homes in danger of being burned, while also damaging about five acres of forestland.
A Thursday afternoon fire damaged about 15 acres of forestland in the Dixonville area.
Madeline Hildreth, Escambia County manager of the Alabama Forestry Commission, said both fires began when wind ignited a leaf fire.
Hildreth said the Appleton fire began to move and landowners were unable to contain it.
No homes were endangered in the Thursday blaze, however Hildreth said some timber was damaged in the effort to extinguish the blaze.
Hildreth said although a citation was issued as a result of the Tuesday and Thursday evening fires, burning the leaves wasn’t illegal.
Burning garbage is illegal in Escambia County and throughout Alabama.
Last Tuesday’s fire required help from the Appleton Volunteer Fire Department and Brewton Fire Department, while Dixonville volunteer firefighters and Alabama Forestry firefighters worked Thursday’s fire.
Hildreth said the cost of extinguishing escaped fires is huge. “If a fire department responds, there is a cost of bringing in the volunteer fire trucks,” she said. “When the Alabama Forestry Commission has to use a bulldozer to extinguish the fire, the cost is astronomical.”
Hildreth said citations for illegal burning will become more frequent as the fires occur.
Hildreth said it is legal to burn tops, limbs, grassland, woodland and fields in most areas.
To obtain a free permit or to get more details on legal burning, contact the Alabama Forestry Commission at 1-800-672-3076.