State remains under fire alert
by Elsie Hodnett
Nov 01, 2010 | 1183 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Although much-needed rain fell last week, it was not enough to lift the Alabama Forestry Commission Fire Alert.

“We will need probably 4-5 more inches to get us back to normal rainfall and the amount we need this year for a safer environment fire-wise,” said Derrick Heckman, St. Clair County forester with the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Due to drought conditions, the Alabama Forestry Commission placed all 67 counties under a Fire Alert Sept. 23.

State Forester Linda Casey said in the last 30 days, the state has battled 787 wildfires that have burned approximately 8.049 acres. In this calendar year, 2,695 fires have burned about 32,437 acres. Debris burning and illegal residential trash burning continue to be the leading cause of wildfires.

“We have been receiving calls locally where weekend bonfires or trash burning has reignited several days later and created a wildfire,” Heckman said. “The fires were not properly put out, and then the wind blows the coals out onto the grass and you have a fire.”

Heckman said residents should take proper safety measures to ensure bonfires and campfires are properly extinguished.

“In the fall, we traditionally have low relative humidity,” he said. “The low relative humidity in addition to low rainfall increases the danger of wildfires. We urge residents to use caution and take the proper precautions to help prevent wildfires.”

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