Forestry Commission officials said recent rains and higher humidity have increased ground moisture levels in those 34 counties, reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfire and justifying the downgrading of those counties.
This action brings the total number to 46 counties under fire alert status.
The Forestry Commission urges anyone burning to follow safety recommendations such as not leaving a fire unattended until it is 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. 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 AFC will not issue burn permits for the 12 counties, including Talladega County, under the Alabama Department of Environmental Management summer burning restrictions. Under ADEM regulations, “open burning” is not allowed May through October in those 12 counties. This regulation does not apply to prescribed burns, but does apply to the burning of piled debris for land clearing or any “miscellaneous” burns.
The AFC will continue to monitor ground moisture levels throughout the state. If ground fuels become exceptionally dry again, it may be necessary to re-issue a No Burn Order in affected areas.
This Fire Alert in the 46 counties will remain in effect until lifted by the State Forester, at which time conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires.
For more information, contact any Alabama Forestry Commission county office or visit the AFC web page at www.forestry.alabama.gov.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.