4.8 million people in Alabama experiencing drought conditions

Eight Mile Creek/Lake Catoma near Cullman during the drought of 2008 (Image: WHNT News 19)

Eight Mile Creek/Lake Catoma near Cullman during the drought of 2008 (Image: WHNT News 19)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows the estimated number of people in Alabama experiencing drought conditions approaching five million.

The Drought Monitor update was released early Thursday morning.

100 percent of the state of Alabama is considered to be in ‘moderate’ drought. The area of the state included in the ‘exceptional’ drought – the highest level of drought- grew from five percent to nearly 10 percent in the last seven days. Over 70 percent of Alabama is experiencing ‘severe’ drought conditions.

Zero percent of the state was under drought conditions at the start of the current calendar year.

Drought fuels wildfires

Dry conditions helped fuel a very large fire over the weekend in the Martha’s Falls area of Little River Canyon.

Officials say at least 300 acres burned.

The fire is believed to have been started by an illegal campfire.

Wednesday afternoon, fire crews and the Alabama Forestry Commission responded to a wildfire that burned at least 100 acres near Leeds. Fire officials say that while the situation is contained, the fire itself is not controlled and may continue to burn for more than a week.

U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday, October 27, 2016 (Image: WHNT News 19)

U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday, October 27, 2016 (Image: WHNT News 19)