Officials warn of illegal fires
Published 8:05 am Monday, March 16, 2009
It’s an innocent act of homekeeping: Raking up leaves and burning them in a yard. But when conditions are as dry as they are and March winds are blowing, that little fire can blow up into a huge blaze in no time, one that threatens forests and homes.
That’s exactly what happened last week, and now forestry commission officials are advising area residents be careful about what they burn — and warning that burning garbage is illegal.
Burning leaves and limbs is legal, but the person who sets the fire needs to take responsibility for the proper precautions. Because when such a fire gets out of hand — and we have all the right conditions for that to happen — it takes a lot manpower and money to keep the fire from spreading and endangering homes and forest land.
We know that people setting such fires don’t set out to be destructive, but those actions can unintentionally be dangerous for many people.
Beginning this month, the Alabama Forestry Commission will issue citations for illegal burning in hopes that they will act as a deterrent to folks who would seek to burn garbage or burn other items that could get out of control and threaten homes, trees, even lives. The fine plus court costs could run offenders a bill over $100 — a lot of money to pay when getting a burn permit or dumping garbage legally is actually much more convenient.
We hope residents will heed those warnings and take care of their neighbors and local forest land.