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Alabama Forestry Commission cuts affect forest fire coverage

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. - The Alabama Forestry Commission says they haven't seen a wildfire season like this one in about three or four years.

The recent budget cuts that were made have affected their performance this year.

"We were relying on some resources from South Alabama, but now that they're under the drought emergency there too... we were having to put a lot of those resources back into their home counties in South Alabama," Terry Ezzell, North Regional Forester of the Alabama Forestry Commission.

With man power cut, their response time to fires has taken more time and causes more damage.

"Once we get there, we're doing a pretty good job of being able to control them for the most part," says Terry Ezzell.  "It's just they are getting bigger because of the longer response time because of the limited personnel."

The Commission usually requires a two-man fire crew, one operating a dozer and one doing ground work but that has changed in a lot of counties.

"We have some counties now that are limited to one person, so you have two people covering two to three counties."

The Alabama Forestry Commission says without the help from local agencies, events like these could be completely devastating.

"I hope they look at things and where we're at with the Forestry Commission and consider that."

The Alabama Forestry Commission says they're extremely grateful for the local departments coming out and helping them during this time.

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