21 south Ala. counties still under no burn order despite rain

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Forestry Commission says recent rains and higher humidity are being credited with increased ground moisture and, as a results, another 34 north Alabama counties are being reduced from "Drought Emergency" status in which there's a no burn order,  to "Fire Alert" status.

Some 46 of Alabama's 67 counties are now under the reduced "Fire Alert" status though citizens should remain vigilant about wildfire risks.

The AFC is urging 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 following 21 southern counties remain under the current Drought Emergency (No Burn Order): Baldwin, Mobile, Escambia, Washington, Conecuh, Monroe, Clarke, Choctaw, Marengo, Wilcox, Covington, Coffee, Geneva, Dale, Henry, Houston, Barbour, Pike, Bullock, Crenshaw, and Butler.

Pursuant to this emergency rule, it is still unlawful for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wildlands or marshes; to build a campfire or bonfire; or to burn trash or other material that may cause a forest, grass, or woods fire, until the declaration is lifted.

The AFC says it will continue to monitor ground moisture levels throughout the state and could possibly re-issue the no burn order if needed.