Rain brings short-term relief, didn’t end Alabama drought

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Meteorologists say storms that dumped as much as 5 inches of rain on Alabama didn’t end the drought.

The heaviest rains fell near the middle of the state, accumulating about 5 inches. Precipitation totals of more than 2 inches were common throughout central Alabama late Monday and early Tuesday. Although rainfall amounts varied across the counties of the state, it is expected to give only short-term relief to the wildfires burning recently in Alabama.

“The precipitation we received should temporarily help us with the wildfire situation and hopefully more rain is on the way,” stated Interim State Forester Gary Cole of the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC). “This reprieve will allow firefighters some much needed rest, as well as an opportunity to perform equipment repairs and maintenance.”

alabama-drought-monitor_nov-22

Alabama Drought Monitor statistics from Nov. 23, 2016 [Photo Credit: Federal Drought Monitor]

Monday was a historic day in the number of active wildfires burning in Alabama for one day: 108 fires destroyed 2,742 acres across the state.

Cole continued, “Most of us veteran firefighters here don’t remember that many fires in one day. Not only was the number of wildfires higher, but they were also larger in size.”

“I cannot thank the men and women with the Alabama Forestry Commission enough for their dedication, tireless efforts and countless hours spent battling fires across the state,” said Bentley. “Because of their efforts, wildfires in Alabama have been prevented from doing extensive damage. Their commitment to protecting life, property and wildlife does not go unnoticed.”

Many areas are more than a foot below normal rainfall, and as such Governor Robert Bentley‘s statewide ‘No Burn’ Order —prohibiting all outdoor or open burning, making it illegal for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wildlands or marshes; building a campfire or bonfire; or burn trash or debris — remains in effect.

Additional rain this week may allow the situation to be re-assessed later this week.

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