Forestry Commission lifts No Burn statewide

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Effective immediately, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has lifted all burn restrictions across the state Monday. The Commission will now issue burn permits as normal. 

In northeast Alabama, 11 counties that had been under a ‘No Burn’ order since it was issued by Gov. Ivey on November 9, will remain under a ‘fuel advisory,’ meaning extra safety precautions are required during burning because of the abnormally dry conditions. These counties include Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Etowah, Jefferson, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, and Talladega.

State Forester Rick Oates explained that drought conditions remain throughout the state, but wetter conditions and higher humidities have moved the threat out of a critical range.

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“Although we still have not received enough rain to eliminate drought conditions in all areas of the state, we are beginning to see a wetter pattern,” Oates said. “With higher humidities and good recovery occurring at night from dew fall, surface fuels have moved out of critical fire danger thresholds and the chance of significant wildfire potential has decreased across the state.”

In addition, Oates reminded residents that while drought conditions remain, caution is needed to prevent fires escaping control.

“Even with a return to wetter weather, drought conditions persist,” Oates said. “Fires can still escape, especially during gusty conditions or periods of low relative humidity – 30% or less.”

According to Oates, some fires are prone to containment problems and can burn for days in the organic layer of the soil. 

“If you are located in one of those 11 northeastern counties or a drought-declared area. [that is] (D1, D2, D3 according to the US Drought Monitor/Alabama, you must exercise extreme caution when conducting any type of outdoor burning. Rake or plow around the pile you plan to burn. Water the soil to full saturation to prevent the fire from escaping the firebreak. As always, never leave any fire unattended; remain with your fire until it is completely out. Ensure that you have the necessary equipment and personnel to control the fire. For smaller debris burns, have a garden hose or other water supply on hand.”

Any agricultural or silvicultural fire more than a quarter-acre in size requires a permit from the AFC. Burn permits may be obtained by calling (800) 392-5679. 

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. 

To learn more about the services provided by the agency, contact any AFC county office or visit www.forestry.alabama.gov