Firefighters with McCullough VFD along with mutual aid from the Atmore and Poarch fire departments work to extinguish a fire on Ross Road Wednesday.| Photo by Sandi Boone

Citywide burn ban in effect

Published 11:04am Monday, May 16, 2011

Dry conditions throughout Escambia County have forced Atmore officials to enforce a burn ban within the city limits.

According to Atmore Fire Department Chief Gerry McGhee, the burn ban was put into effect earlier this week and will continue until the area is saturated with measurable rain.

“Until we get some significant rainfall, the burn ban will remain in place,” McGhee said. “Dry weather is the key ingredient for grass, brush and forest fires. We are hoping the ban will help prevent these fires from occurring.”

Outdoor burning is prohibited when a “burn ban” is in effect, McGhee said.

“It’s a penalty if they get caught burning and it causes harm to someone else’s property,” McGhee said. “We are just hoping everyone will abide by our rules.”

A fire that destroyed a utility shed on Ross Road near Fountain Correctional Facility Wednesday was a result of the lack of rain, McGhee said.

“Dry conditions caused that fire,” he said. “The owner was burning some wood and it caught the grass on fire and burned the shed down.”

Atmore and Poarch fire departments provided mutual aid to McCullough Volunteer Fire Department, assisting with extinguishing the blaze.

There are other options for residents in the city limits besides burning for deposal of debris such as leaves, limbs and other brush. Employees with the city’s Street & Sanitation Department pick up the debris weekly if it placed beside the roadway in a pile.

When the burn ban is lifted, McGhee said burning is allowed for recreational purposes, cooking or warmth; disposal of trees, brush, grass and leaves and forest, range and wildlife management purposes.

Burning of tires, shingles, plastic and rubber that is not packaging, insulated wire, treated lumber, furniture, carpet, appliances, non-wood construction/demolition materials, chemical wastes, heavy oils and explosive materials is not allowed. If caught, violators can face possible fines.

Despite a few showers late Friday afternoon, the burn ban remains in effect.

“We hope to get some rain soon, so we can lift it, but right now it is too dry,” McGhee said.

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