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Fire brings attention to drought conditions

McCall Volunteer Firefighters battle a brush fire blaze along Old Hwy. 31 Thursday morning.

The McCall Volunteer Fire Department responded to a brush fire Thursday morning on Old Hwy. 31. Dry weather conditions may have contributed to the blaze.

A statewide fire alert was issued last month and remains in effect according to information from the Alabama Forestry Commission.

The alert was issued in all 67 counties in Alabama due to extremely dry weather conditions.

The U.S. Drought Monitor reported drought conditions are worsening in Alabama and weather patterns suggest little or no relief on the horizon.

Reports show Escambia County has experienced three incidents of impacts of drought in the area. Those incidents range from loss of crops to fire hazards.

In the last 30 days, 459 wildfires have occurred in Alabama burning approximately 4,743 acres of land. In comparison, the AFC battled only six wildfires during the whole month of September 2009.

With little chance of rain in the immediate forecast conditions may worsen and create more problems with wildfires and spontaneous fires.

The Drought Monitor shows Escambia County in the D1 category that indicates the area is in a moderate drought cycle.

Area fire officials urge residents to use caution when using fire or outdoor cooking devices. State officials say the statewide fire alert will remain in effect until conditions improve with significant rain all recorded across drought-ridden areas.

For more information on wildfires or the statewide fire alert, visit the Alabama Forestry Commission’s Website at www.forestry.state.al.us.