‘No Burn’ drought emergency lifted statewide

Published 2:44 pm Monday, December 5, 2016

On Monday Alabama governor, Robert Bentley, and Interim State Forester, Gary Cole, have rescinded the statewide Drought Emergency ‘No Burn’ Order which has been in effect since early November. Officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) say the state has received enough rainfall over the last few days to reduce the threat of dangerous wildfires.

“In recent days we have seen significant rainfall across our state and the Alabama Forestry Commission now believes the worst of the drought has ended,” Governor Bentley said. “I want to thank the Forestry Commission and the dozens of local fire departments that have worked so hard to ensure the thousands of wildfires didn’t get out of hand. These men and women have worked long hours under intense conditions to prevent as much damage as possible. We will continue to work with stake holders across the state to help everyone recover from the drought.”

Cole said although all counties in the state will return to having burn permits available, residents should bear in mind that Alabama like much of the South is still experiencing extreme drought conditions this fall.

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“The AFC will continue to monitor ground moisture levels throughout the state,” Cole said. “If ground fuels become exceptionally dry again, it may be necessary to re-issue a Fire Alert or No Burn Order in affected areas.”

The AFC advises anyone conducting any type of outdoor burning to follow safety precautions, such as not leaving a fire unattended until it is completely out; having the necessary equipment and personnel to control the fire; and having a garden hose or other water supply on hand for smaller debris burns. Any fire more than a quarter-acre in size or within 25 feet of a forested area requires a permit from the AFC. Burn permits may be obtained by calling 1-800-392-5679. 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.

The Alabama Forestry Commission is the state agency charged with protecting Alabama citizens and the state’s forest resources from wildfires. To learn more about the services provided by the agency, contact any AFC county office or visit the web page at www.forestry.alabama.gov.