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Dry conditions continue to threaten North Alabama counties, state parks

MONTGOMERY – A day after the National Weather Service in Huntsville and the Alabama Forestry Commission issued Fire Alerts for north Alabama counties, additional restrictions were placed on all state parks.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reinstated fire precautions for all Alabama State Parks due to extended dry conditions. Visitors and overnight guests are being asked to take extra precautions with campfires and barbecue grills.

(Alabama State Parks contributed)

“October is one of the driest months in Alabama and the continuing lack of rain has increased the risk for wildfires statewide,” Greg Lein, director of the State Parks Division, said in a statement. “We encourage park visitors and overnight guests to be very cautious with campfires and grills during this period until we get some much-needed rain.”

The Alabama Forestry Commission issued a statewide Fire Alert on Tuesday. The Fire Alert will remain in effect until rescinded by the State Forester.

The additional Alabama State Parks fire precautions include:

  • No campfires outside of designated day-use picnic areas, campgrounds or developed recreational areas.
  • Barbecue grills and gas-fueled stoves are permitted only in designated day-use picnic areas, campgrounds or developed recreational areas.
  • Do not use barbecue grills or gas stoves in areas that can scorch, burn or damage lawns or picnic tables.
  • Place barbecue grills a minimum of 15 feet away from any flammable material such as grass, weeds, wood chips, brush or park facilities.
  • Do not leave a campfire or grill unattended.
  • Completely extinguish all burning fuel such as wood or charcoal before disposing of it in an existing fireplace, fire pit or barbecue grill.

For questions about the fire precautions, contact the main office of the state park. Contact information is available at www.alapark.com.

Park visitors are also encouraged to monitor each state park’s social media accounts for updates on fire precautions and restrictions. A social media directory for Alabama State Parks is available at www.alapark.com/social-media-directory.

(Alabama Forestry Commission/Contributed)

Tuesday, the Alabama Forestry Commission reissued a Fire Alert for all 67 counties in the state.

“In the 32 northern counties (roughly north of Interstate 20), no burn permits will be issued,” the statement from the commission said. “In the 35 southern counties (south of Interstate 20), certified prescribed burn managers will have the option to obtain a one-day burn permit. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Anyone who burns a field, grassland, or woodland without a burn permit may be subject to prosecution for committing a Class B misdemeanor.

“During the past seven days, AFC wildland firefighters have responded to 111 wildfires that scorched more than 1,881 acres of forestland in Alabama. Drought conditions are expected to worsen as no rain is forecast for the next week, and October is historically the state’s driest month. This extremely dry weather creates a greater-than-average potential for outdoor fires to escape easily and spread rapidly, taking longer – and more firefighting resources – to contain and ultimately control.”

To report a wildfire, call the Alabama Forestry Commission at 800-392-5679. For  information on the current wildfire situation in the state or any other forestry-related issues, contact a local AFC office or visit here.

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