If you play with fire, forests could burn
Despite a few rain showers this week, there is still not enough rain in the forecast to undo the conditions that weeks of little to no rain have left us with.
Parched fields. Very dry forest debris, some of it remnants of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
The drought and hurricane debris have created a serious wildfire threat in Alabama with perfect conditions for wildfires.
Wildfires are always a worry during droughts, but 2006 is a bigger worry for state officials since Hurricane Ivan left $600 million worth of timber scattered across forest land, providing kindling for wildfires, according to the Alabama Forestry Commission.
About 2,900 wildfires have burned more than 47,000 acres of Alabama forests this year, the state Forestry Commission reported. Typically Alabama loses only 40,000 acres to 4,000 fires.
A red flag alert has been issued by the commission, urging caution while Alabama is under wildfire conditions.
The wildfire season usually begins in October and ends in May, but the lack of summer rains have increased the chances of continued fires.
The timber debris not only provides wildfire fuel, but makes it difficult for firefighters to maneuver fire sites. Usually they dig trenches around the site to isolate the fire. The hurricane debris creates obstacles, forcing them to dig in wider circles.
We encourage residents to abide by "no burn bans" issued by the city or county.
Always use extreme caution with fire – whether you are grilling, burning trash, or shooting leftover fireworks. Use common sense and act responsibly. Let's protect our forests.