Burn ban lifted for county

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The state has lifted its no burn order for Escambia County, but Atmore Fire Chief Gerry McGhee said residents still need to be careful.

On Monday, state officials announced the fire alert has been lifted for Escambia and other counties across the state because recent rains have reduced the threat of catastrophic wildfires.

“We have had several people to call in to ask if it was OK to burn,” McGhee said Tuesday. “We have had enough rain now to give us some relief. Everyone should be very cautious if they decide to burn outside.”

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Those who live inside the city limits can contact the Atmore Fire Department for a burn permit, and those who live outside the city limits can contact the Alabama Forestry Commission.

“If you do burn, keep the fire 100 feet away from any dwelling,” McGhee said.

The AFC urges anyone conducting outdoor 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. Burn permits may be obtained by calling 1-800-392-5679. 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 not issue burn permits for those 12 counties prohibited from summer burning under the Alabama Department of Environmental Manage-ment restrictions.

These counties are Baldwin, Dekalb, Etowah, Lawrence, Jefferson, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Morgan, Russell, Shelby and Talladega.

Even small fires can become huge problems for landowners and firefighters.

Burners are responsible for contacting their local government for more information.