As extremely dry conditions continue to plague the entire state, a total of 46 counties in north and central Alabama remain under a burn ban ordered by Governor Robert Bentley on October 12, which prohibits all outdoor burning.
Despite the ongoing ban, an Alabama Forestry Commission official said Monday that 910 wildfires have destroyed more than 10,000 acres across Alabama since Oct. 1.
“The drought creates a dangerous scenario where wildfire can quickly spread out of control, destroying forestland and threatening homes,” said interim State Forester Gary Cole.
Over the last few weeks, wildland firefighters with the Alabama Forestry Commission have been busy battling such wildfires in all 67 counties of the state.
“Unfortunately there is no relief in sight,” Cole continued. “The 10-day forecast for Alabama shows almost no potential for rainfall, with above-average temperatures and lower humidity.”
Cole explained the situation causes grave concern for fire officials with the agency, struggling with reduced availability of both firefighting manpower and suppression resources.
“It’s not a good outlook for our team of firefighters who are already putting in long, difficult hours in the woods trying to suppress these blazes,” he said.
According to the United States Drought Monitor more than two-thirds of the state is at least severely dry for this time of year with roughly one-third facing an extreme or exceptional drought.
Under the No Burn Order, it is illegal for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wildlands, or marshes; to build a campfire or bonfire; or to burn trash, debris, or other material that may cause a forest, grass, or woods fire. The regulation also prohibits all open burning and prescribed burns.
If convicted, the penalty for violating the No Burn Order is a fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail.
Additionally, a Fire Alert remains in effect for the 21 other counties in south Alabama which was issued earlier by the Alabama Forestry Commission. While under the Fire Alert, permits for outdoor burning are restricted and issued on an individual basis.