Alabama Forestry Commission talks drought concerns amid dangerous conditions

AFC talks drought concerns amid dangerous conditions

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Dealing with the drought in Alabama is becoming more and more concerning. As we continue to hit record high temperatures with little to no rain in the foreseeable future, conditions have turned dangerous.

With such hot, dry weather, fires can start easily and spread quickly destroying property, damaging land, even threatening lives. Wildfires have already burned nearly 3,000 acres across the state in just over the past week.

The result of one of those fires can be found in Pintlala. According to the Alabama Forester Commission, that fire was started by a blown tire. The creek, which normally would have normally helped prevent the fire from spreading is almost dry. Foresters said this allowed the fire to jump across and spread.

The area is now considered by the AFC as “In the black”.

“If you don’t have to burn, don’t.” Matthew Sorrells, Forester with the Alabama Forester Commission said.

Sorrell said while burning has not been banned across the state, it’s a good idea to avoid burning until conditions get better.

Alabama has a team that monitors and plans for the state’s drought conditions. The Alabama Drought Assessment Planning team consists of 16 federal and state agencies. The goal is to provide information to help make decisions related to prevention and protections during a drought period.

The Alabama Forestry Commission issued a statewide fire alert, upgrading from the fire danger advisory issued in September. While under a fire alert, permits for outdoor burning will be restricted and issued on an individual basis at the discretion of the state forester. Anyone who burns a field, grassland or woodland without a burn permit may be subject to prosecution for committing a Class B misdemeanor.

The fire alert will remain in effect until rescinded by the state forester, at a time when conditions have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires.

To report a wildfire, call the AFC at 1-(800) 392-5679.

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