County still under no burn order

Published 4:37 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Escambia County remains under a no burn order, although the state Forestry Commission has downgraded 34 north Alabama counties to fire alert status.

Alabama Forestry Commission officials said Wednesday that recent rains and higher humidity have increased ground moisture levels in those counties, reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfire.

But Escambia County — along with Baldwin, Monroe, Washington, Conecuh, Mobile, Clarke, Choctaw, Marengo, Wilcox, Covington, Coffee, Geneva, Dale, Henry, Houston, Barbour, Pike, Bullock, Crenshaw and Butler counties remain under the drought emergency declaration. Burn permits are not being issued in those counties.

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Under that designation, it is unlawful for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wildlands or marshes; to build a campfire or bonfire; or to burn trash or other material that may cause a forest, grass, or woods fire, until said declaration is lifted.

The Forestry Commission urges anyone burning to follow safety recommendations such as not leaving a fire unattended until it is out, having the necessary equipment and personnel to control the fire,

and having a garden hose or other water supply on hand for smaller debris burns. Any fire more than a quarter-acre in size or within 25 feet of a forested area requires a permit from the AFC. Burning without a permit is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $3,000 fine.

The AFC will continue to monitor ground moisture levels throughout the state. If ground fuels become exceptionally dry again, it may be necessary to re-issue a No Burn Order in affected areas.