MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The State of Alabama remains under a statewide Fire Alert Monday, which could be extended for an indefinite amount of time.
The Alabama Forestry Commission issued the alert Friday because of dry and windy conditions that can increase the risk of fires spreading out of control.
In the last two weeks this month, the state has seen nearly 100 wildfires, consuming about 1,000 acres of land. That number is getting closer to the 127 wildfires the state saw all of last September, according to Balsie Butler, the Alabama Forestry Commission’s Protection Division Assistant Director.
“We’re well ahead of where we were this time last year,” Butler said.
Butler says this summer’s high temperatures and little rain recently have left the soil dry and the conditions right for wildfires.
“A lot of people see green grass and green leaves on the trees and think everything is OK but in reality, everything is really, really dry,” Butler said.
The Fire Alert restricts outdoor burning and makes it a class B misdemeanor to burn a field, grassland or woodland without a burn permit.
Butler says it’s best to hold off on any kind of burning until the state gets significant rainfall, at which point the alert would be lifted.
Until then, the commission is getting closer to requesting a drought declaration from the governor.
“Based on weather forecasts, we’re not anticipating a lot of precipitation in the future so we’re probably heading more toward a drought declaration,” Butler said.
To report a wildfire, contact the Alabama Forestry Commission at (800) 392-5679.