Citing widespread and worsening drought conditions, starting Friday the Alabama Forestry Commission will stop issuing permits for outdoor burning.
The commission restricted permits under a statewide fire alert last month.
“The fire alert is not going away until we receive significant precipitation, meaning several inches of rainfall,” State Forester Rick Oates said in a statement Wednesday. “Unfortunately, there is no rain in sight, so the restriction must remain in effect indefinitely. With this extremely dry weather, any fire can quickly spread out of control threatening lives and livelihood, not to mention destroying our forests.”
Burning a field, grassland or woodland without a burn permit is a Class B misdemeanor.
In the past 30 days, 215 wildfires have burnt more than 2,100 acres around the state, according to the commission’s fire tracker data. That’s up from 137 fires over 1,494 acres in all of August.
October is historically the state’s driest month and 22% of Alabama is already abnormally dry while 74% is seeing some level of drought conditions, the most severe being in Mobile, Escambia, Conecuh and Monroe counties, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The commission said weather conditions this weekend include two cold fronts, potentially bringing low relative humidity and gusty winds.