No burn ordinance still in effect
Even though the area has seen some rain recently, the no burn ordinance for the state of Alabama is still in effect.
The no burn ordinance means there should be no outdoor burning whatsoever, which includes no campfires and no burning of storm debris or other yard debris.
According to Neal Taylor, a forestry specialist with the Alabama Forestry Commission, The area has been so dry that even the little rainfall the area has received has soaked straight into the ground, doing little for the dry conditions on the surface.
“There is lots of fuel buildup on the ground from the recent storms and tornadoes,” Taylor said. “All out it is dry from the shortage on rainfall and the low humidity, so it wouldn’t take but just a small spark to start a massive fire that could do a lot of damage.”
Taylor said in the last month, the Forestry Commission has had to deal with a forest fire in Jefferson County that took out three acres.
Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell added their department also had to respond to a forest fire near the Rockwood community on June 14 that damaged three acres there.
“You just really don’t want to get into a bad situation, so the best thing to do is pay attention to the ordinance and refrain from burning anything until it is lifted,” Taylor said.
Many people have been concerned that with the no burn ordinance in place, fireworks would be prohibited on the Fourth of July, but according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, there hasn’t been a prohibition on firework use.
“If you’re planning to use fireworks around the Fourth, just make sure to exercise caution, monitor the weather conditions, have a bucket of water or a water hose ready, and make sure all fireworks are extinguished completely before leaving them unattended,” RFD Capt. Steve Thornton said. “You should also make sure of where you’re shooting your fireworks because if they land on someone else’s home or property and cause damage, you could be held responsible.”
Thornton said if a fire is started as a result of firework use, notify the fire department immediately.
“Even if you are able to get the fire out, it’s best to go ahead and call the department because, with conditions as dry as they’ve been, you never know if it might start back up after you leave.”
Thornton also cautioned firework users to play it safe and read the directions because there always seems to be an increase in injuries around the Fourth of July due to mismanagement or lack of supervision.