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ADCNR reinstates park preacutions
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
Effective immediately, the Alabama Forestry Commission, or AFC, has re-issued a Fire Alert for all 67 counties in the state.
In the 32 northern counties (roughly north of Interstate 20), no burn permits will be issued. In the 35 southern counties (south of Interstate 20), certified prescribed burn managers will have the option to obtain a one-day burn permit. According to the AFC there will be no exceptions to this rule.
Anyone who burns a field, grassland, or woodland without a burn permit may be subject to prosecution for committing a Class B misdemeanor.
As of Tuesday, during the past seven days, AFC wildland firefighters have responded to 111 wildfires that scorched more than 1,881 acres of forestland in Alabama.
In Coosa County, as of press time, a fire had been reported as recently as Wednesday. That fire was contained, but it included 20 acres and, after being reported at 10:47 a.m. that day, was not contained until 5:36 p.m. that day.
In total, from September 29 through October 25, Coosa County has had five contained or controlled fires reported, covering a total of 48 acres.
Statewide for the month of October, Alabama has had 61 contained fires and 289 controlled fires reported, covering 4,161.63 acres.
Drought conditions are expected to worsen as no rain is forecast for the next week, and October is historically the state’s driest month. Per the AFC, this extremely dry weather creates a greater-than-average potential for outdoor fires to escape easily and spread rapidly, taking longer – and more firefighting resources – to contain and ultimately control.
To report a wildfire, call the Alabama Forestry Commission at 800-392-5679. For more information on the current wildfire situation in the state or any other forestry-related issues, contact your local AFC office or visit the agency website at www.forestry.alabama.gov/Pages/Fire/Totals.aspx.
Also because of this month’s continued drier conditions, additional fire precautions have also been reinstated for all Alabama State parks.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, or ADCNR, reinstated the precautions as of Wednesday. ADCNR is asking all state park visitors and overnight guests to take extra precautions with campfires and barbecue grills.
“October is one of the driest months in Alabama, and the continuing lack of rain has increased the risk for wildfires statewide,” stated Greg Lein, director of ADCNR’s State Parks Division. “We encourage park visitors and overnight guests to be very cautious with campfires and grills during this period until we get some much-needed rain.”
ADCNR reinstated the precautions on the heels of the AFC reissuing the Fire Alert on Tuesday, which will remain in effect until rescinded by the state forester.
ADCNR’s additional Alabama State parks fire precautions include the following:
- No campfires outside of designated day-use picnic areas, campgrounds, or developed recreational areas.
- Barbecue grills and gas-fueled stoves are permitted only in designated day-use picnic areas, campgrounds, or developed recreational areas.
- Do not use barbecue grills or gas stoves in areas that can scorch, burn, or damage lawns or picnic tables.
- Place barbecue grills a minimum of 15 feet away from any flammable material such as grass, weeds, wood chips, brush, or park facilities.
- Do not leave a campfire or grill unattended.
- Completely extinguish all burning fuel such as wood or charcoal before disposing of it in an existing fireplace, fire pit, or barbecue grill.
Anyone with any questions relating to the fire precautions is asked to contract the main offices of the individual state park. Contact information is available online at www.alapark.com.
Additionally, park visitors are also encouraged to monitor each state park’s social media accounts for any updates regarding fire precautions and restrictions.
A social media directory for Alabama’s state parks is available at www.alapark.com/social-media-directory.