DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Due to conditions being ripe for wildfire, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) is suspending burn permits until further notice.
According to the latest update from the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), “effective Friday, October 6, permits for outdoor burning will no longer be issued until further notice.”
“Anyone burning a field, grassland, or woodland without a burn permit may be subject to prosecution for committing a Class B misdemeanor,” the update said.
News 19 stopped by the Alabama Forestry Commission North Region Headquarters in Decatur on Thursday. We spoke with several foresters about the current Fire Alert that is in effect statewide.
As of Thursday, the official Fire Danger Level was “Very High”.
Foresters on duty said it will take a lot of rain to improve fire danger conditions.
“We’re dry 7 and a half inches down, we need at least two and a half inches of rain to come back to normal for this time of year,” said Robert Maddox, a Work Unit Manager for the Alabama Forestry Commission.
Maddox said he doesn’t expect fire danger levels to go down anytime soon, because of the lack of measurable rain in the forecast.
“Looking at the six-week outlook, that our fire weather specialists have looked at, it’s not there,” Maddox said.
With drought conditions and the Fire Alert in place, the AFC asks people to be extra careful.
The AFC recommends people avoid activities that could spark a fire like making campfires and mowing dry grass.
“I mean it could get away from you, and you not really realize it,” said Terry Ezzell, the Northwest Regional Forester for the AFC.
Ezzell said he urges people to comply with current fire regulations and to not do any outdoor burning. “Just refrain from it, we’ll have safer times to do that in the future,” he said.
“If you do allow a fire to escape, whether it was a fire that needed a permit or not, you are still liable for that, liable for the damages you caused, liable for the suppression cost,” Ezzell said.
The Alabama Forestry Commission told News 19 they will have crews on-call throughout the weekend, just in case.
To report a wildfire to the Alabama Forestry Commission you can call (800) 392-5679. Or you can call 9-1-1.