Rain really helps quelch “Big Tree” wildfire in the Sipsey Wilderness area of Bankhead National Forest

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A view of the fire over the Sipsey Wilderness on Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo: USDA Forest Service)

A view of the fire over the Sipsey Wilderness on Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo: USDA Forest Service)

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. – Thanks to the rain we’ve had over the last few days, conditions have greatly improved as crews work to contain the “Big Tree” wildfire in the Sipsey Wilderness area of the Bankhead National Forest.

The USDA Forest Service says the fire is now 75 percent contained, and eight trails are open for visitors.

Dave Casey, district ranger for the Bankhead National Forest says some teams have been released to go home.   One hotshot fire crew from Virginia is still on site to monitor the fire line.

“We really appreciate everyone coming together to support our firefighters while they protected the community from the threat of wildfires,” said Casey. “Firefighters are faced with dangerous tasks and their dedication is commended.”

A view of the fire over the Sipsey Wilderness on Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo: USDA Forest Service)

A view of the fire over the Sipsey Wilderness on Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo: USDA Forest Service)

Bankhead District employees are now overseeing what remains of the fire.

Casey said a fire ban closure will remain in effect for the Sipsey Wilderness Area until November 30.  Four trails in the Sipsey Wilderness – 204 Bee Branch Trail, 208 Northwest Road Horse Trail, 209 Sipsey River Trail and 224 Bunyan Hill Horse Trail continue to remain closed.

People who visit the Bankhead National Forest in the coming weeks are encouraged to visit other trails located outside of the Sipsey Wilderness.