June 2, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

Alabama Forestry Commission Expands Fire Alert

     The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has expanded the current Fire Alert to include the following counties in southwest Alabama: Monroe, Conecuh, and Clarke counties. This order was issued today by State Forester Linda S. Casey. While under a Fire Alert, burn permits will be issued at the discretion of the State Forester. These three counties are in addition to the four counties originally placed under the Fire Alert on May 19 which included Baldwin, Escambia, Mobile, and Washington.

     According to Casey, the Fire Alert was expanded due not only to the extremely dry weather conditions that continue in that part of the state, but also the high temperatures, exceptionally low humidity, and the reduced availability of firefighting staff and suppression resources. “Under the present drought situation,” said Casey, “conditions are such that any fire can quickly spread out of control, not only resulting in damage to our forests but also threatening and destroying homes. We are continuing to monitor the situation statewide and may have to add more counties if circumstances do not improve.”

     Firefighters are still battling a wildfire in Baldwin County, first reported at two acres on Wednesday, that quickly escalated into a 140-acre blaze and continues to grow today, burning land belonging to several landowners. Another wildfire burned 120 acres in Conecuh County yesterday, also affecting several property owners. In the last 30 days, 243 wildfires have burned a total of 3,564 acres across the state of Alabama.

     The Commission is urging everyone to exercise all necessary safety precautions when doing any type of outdoor burning, and to call the Alabama Forestry Commission to obtain a burn permit. Burning without a permit is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $3,000 fine.

     This Fire Alert will remain in effect until rescinded by the State Forester, at which time conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires. For more information on the current wildfire situation in the state or any other forestry-related issues, contact your local Alabama Forestry Commission office or visit the AFC website at www.forestry.alabama.gov/fire_totals.aspx.

    The Alabama Forestry Commission is a state agency committed to protecting Alabama citizens and the state’s invaluable forest assets.

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