Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Forestry Commission placed the entire state under a Fire Alert Thursday morning. State Forester Linda S. Casey issued the order amid extremely dry weather and an up tick in wildfires. Casey said reduced resources to fight fires also factored into the Alert.
WHAT IS A FIRE ALERT:
This allows the Alabama Forestry Commission to restrict the issuing of Burning permits. On most days, permits are issued to everyone who meets the requirements of the permit law. During a low level Fire Alert, only Certified Prescribed Burn Managers with adequate manpower and equipment may be issued a permit. During a higher level Fire Alert, no burn permits are issued at all.
The AFC reports 459 wildfires in the last 30 days, responsible for destruction of 4,743 acres of land. The AFC battled only six wildfires during the whole month of September 2009.
"The lack of rain and unseasonably high temperatures have left much of the state extremely dry, creating high risk potential for devastating wildfire," said Dan Jackson, AFC Protection Division Director. "With no significant rainfall in more than a month, many Alabama counties are experiencing an increase in wildfire occurrence. Although the official start of fall 'fire season' in Alabama is not until October under normal conditions, the extremely dry weather this year has brought it on much sooner. 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."
The elevated number and size of wildfires is a major concern for the AFC which has recently faced cutbacks. "Even though our staff and firefighting resources are reduced, the Alabama Forestry Commission is committed to protecting the state's invaluable forest assets, as well as serving the citizens and landowners across the state," Jackson said.
The Fire Alert will remain in effect until the State Forester decides to cancel it. Casey will only do that when conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires.
For more information on the current wildfire situation in the state, visit the AFC website at www.forestry.alabama.gov/fire_totals.aspx.