Rain relieves South Alabama fire restrictions

Published 8:00 am Friday, December 1, 2023

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Recent rain has brought relief to Alabama drought conditions, causing the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) to ease fire restrictions across much of the state. Effective 8 a.m. on Nov. 22, the commission lifted all burn restrictions in 33 counties in the southern half of the state, including Butler Lowndes and Crenshaw counties.

A Fire Alert replaced the No Burn order in 23 northern counties, where one-day burn permits will be issued to certified prescribed burn managers only.

The AFC announced lessening the restrictions in a Nov. 21 media release which noted that because rainfall amounts differed across Alabama, some counties remain under the No Burn order issued by Governor Kay Ivey on Nov. 9. These counties include Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Etowah, Jefferson, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, and Talladega.

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The onset of rainfall caused AFC to lessen restrictions on Nov. 17, when 33 counties transitioned from “No Burn” to “Fire Alert” status while 34 northern counties remained under the fire ban.

Since October 1, AFC wildland firefighters, with the assistance of volunteer fire departments, have battled 760 wildfires consuming more than 7,807 acres across the state. With the No Burn order in place since November 9, a total of 86 wildfires have burned approximately 278 acres of land in Alabama.

In the Nov. 17 announcement, State Forester Rick Oates said agency personnel have been assessing rain accumulation and fuel moisture content in all counties to re-evaluate the No Burn order. 

“The recent rainfall should temporarily help us with the wildfire situation in some counties and hopefully more rain is on the way,” stated Oates. “Unfortunately, the northern counties did not receive enough precipitation to lift the No Burn order. Predicted rain for early next week may allow the situation to be re-assessed.”

Current restrictions will remain in effect until Oates rescinded them, an action he will consider as rainfall continues to alleviate Alabama’s drought situation, reducing the occurrence and frequency of wildfires.

To report persons burning in violation of this law, contact your local law enforcement. For more information on the current wildfire situation in the state, visit Alabama Forestry Commission’s website at www.forestry.alabama.gov.