WHNT – On Wednesday morning, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a statewide Drought Emergency Declaration, which will go into effect on Thursday, November 9 at 8 a.m.
The extreme drought conditions we continue to see across the Tennessee Valley, combined with the lack of rainfall and windy conditions have supported an enhanced fire threat for the state.
The statewide burn ban that goes into effect will prohibit all outside burning across the state. This means even small fires like firepits, leaf piles, and brush piles are not allowed. The ban will remain in place until rescinded by a State Forester. To report anyone violating this law, contact your local law enforcement.
On October 24th, the Alabama Forestry Commission issued a statewide Fire Alert due to the extremely dry conditions. Since that Fire Alert was issued, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has responded to 352 wildfires statewide. Those fires have scorched nearly 3,200 acres, and with many fires still ongoing this number will continue to rise.
Here in North Alabama specifically, since November 3rd, the AFC has responded to 139 fires. Nearly 1,300 hundred acres have burned here in our area. On Wednesday, November 8th, 27 additional fires were reported across the area.
The area continues to experience extreme drought conditions and this will likely worsen when the new update is released on Thursday morning. Dry soils, dry fuels, and wind conditions will contribute to the threat of rapid fire spread.
When it is this dry, it does not take a lot for a fire to start or spread quickly. Something as simple as a lawn mower hitting a rock or a cigarette being thrown into the dry grass could start a wildfire. There are several things you can do to help prevent fires by keeping up with the local burn policies and not throwing lit cigarettes in the dry grass.
For information regarding the current wildfire situation in Alabama, visit the Alabama Forestry Commission’s website. You can also view their map of current wildfires around the state by clicking here.
Wednesday afternoon a wildfire broke out on the southside of the test area of the Redstone Arsenal. According to a spokesperson for Redstone Arsenal, the fire started around 2:40 p.m. and is going into the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. The cause hasn’t yet been determined.
Heading toward the end of the week, the area is forecast to see some rainfall but totals will likely range from a quarter to a half an inch of rain.