Fire alert issued for county

Published 4:22 pm Thursday, May 19, 2011

Escambia County has been included in a fire alert for four southwest Alabama counties, the Alabama Forestry Commission said.

The alert for Baldwin, Escambia, Mobile and Washington counties means that burn permits will be issued at the discretion of State Forester Linda S. Casey.

Casey said the alert was issued because of extremely dry weather conditions in the region, the increasing number and size of wildfires that have occurred recently and the reduced availability of firefighting staff and suppression resources.

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“Under the present drought situation, conditions are such that any fire can quickly spread out of control, not only resulting in damage to our forests but also threatening and destroying homes,” Casey said. “In these four south Alabama counties, 454 wildfires have burned approximately 8,593 acres of land since Jan. 1.”

The fire alert will remain in effect until rescinded by the state forester when conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires.

The Forestry Commission has urged residents to exercise all necessary safety precautions when doing any type of outdoor burning, and to call the Alabama Forestry Commission to obtain a burn permit.

Burning without a permit is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $3,000 fine.