Could Raging Fires In Florida Happen In Alabama? Not Likely Says One Forester

Alabama is covered with 22 million acres of forests. Much like Florida we have our share of pine trees and hardwood but there is an ocean of difference between the two states.

"The biggest difference is what's happening in Florida and here is our fuel types. Down in Florida they have a lot of heavy brush," said Lou Hyman, Fire Staff Officer for the Alabama Forestry Commission.

"We have primarily open woods mostly pine straw. We have a lot of fires but not the raging fires," Hyman said.

Still, the threat is always there. The season is typically between October and April. Since January 1 Alabama foresters have put out 2,400 fires that burned 43,000 acres. Not a record but heavy for springtime.

"We normally get that in a whole year," said Hyman.

Right now Alabama's in pretty good shape. It's dry but nowhere near drought conditions. Foresters don't start worrying unless we have go two weeks without any meaningful rainfall.

One of the tricks we look at is if you can wrap a pine straw around your finger without it breaking, that's a sign that it's damp enough you probably won't have a fire that day," Hyman said.

In Florida they shut down parts of an interstate, 8,000 acres burned as well as 3 homes. State officials ordered 1,000 residents to evacuate. Couple that with the fact that it's been dry and the winds have been strong, a web of destruction rarely seen in Alabama.

Alabama sent two state firefighters last Thursday, but they returned Monday night after some much-needed rain.