Alabama Forestry Commission assisting other states with wildfires

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As conditions remain dry in the western states, the Alabama Forestry Commission is sending firefighters to provide extra manpower to battle wildfires.

“I’m constantly fielding requests on a daily basis, at least five to six requests every day, for everything from your basic firefighter all up to those in the command and general staff,” said Balsie Bulter, assistant director of Protection Division of the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Bulter added firefighters will go out to states like New Mexico, Colorado and Texas, where they have been more susceptible to fires.

As of Thursday afternoon, there have been at least nine people dispatched for wildfires.

The assistant director mentioned these fires are different compared to their typical structure fires, as crews are battling fires in different terrains and atmospheres.

“They have to become minimeteorologists,” Butler said, “Those fires are so large, most of them are hundreds of thousands of acres. Those fires have the propensity to generate down weather, so you have to be able to pay attention if you have a wind shift.”

Wildfires out West can be caused by things as small as “somebody flicking a cigarette out of the car” or “a truck pulling a trailer and the chain is dragging on the ground and that throws a spark.”

Based on future weather models, Bulter said it’s possible Alabama could see wildfires this season, but sporadic rainfall has kept grounds wet enough to prevent major spreading so far.

Twelve counties are under a burn ban order, so if you do need to burn something, check with your local government to make sure there isn’t a ban.

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