Rain isn't enough to curb drought

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Currently, four Alabama counties are under a fire alert due to extreme dryness--Baldwin, Escambia, Mobile, and Washington.  The entire southern half of Alabama is under a drought.

"The concern now is the dry weather and the number of fires that we're having," says Stanley Anderson with the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Statewide there have been 500 more fires this month over the same time last year.

And the amount of land affected is more than double what it was in 2010.

"People [are] the number one cause of fire. We have some arson fires, and then we have some accidental fires that escape from control burns," adds Anderson.

Richard and Gretchen Abney are familiar with dry weather.

They're visiting Montgomery from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and have one message for anyone in a drought.

"It would be wonderful if everybody would take to heart that when you have conditions like these...that risking other people's well-being is something you should have in the front of your mind," says Gretchen.

Anderson says while people can prevent fires, a good rain shower would help do the trick, too.

"If we could get a good slow steady soaking rain to soak those light fuels and then penetrate into those heavier fuels and then maybe a few days later have another rain we might be able to alleviate the fire hazard."

Anderson says tornado debris is also going to pose a problem for officials fighting the fires especially since it may get in the way.

Officials say budget cuts may be one reason wildfires are affecting more land because of a reduction in the number fire fighters around the state.

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