Fire-causing activities should be reduced in drought, officials say

Rebecca Rakowitz

In the wake of Gov. Robert Bentley 
signing a drought emergency declaration on Wednesday, restrictions have been made on fire-causing activities, and officials have encouraged residents to take steps to 
prevent fires.

Bentley’s declaration banned outdoor burning in nearly 70 percent of Alabama’s counties, including Tuscaloosa County. There have also been restrictions set on campfires and fireworks in the state’s four national forests.

Tuscaloosa Fire Marshal Gene Holcomb told the Tuscaloosa News that Tuscaloosa’s fire department has responded to two or three brush fires a day.

State Fire Marshal Scot Pilgreen has encouraged Alabamians to “turn their attention to fire prevention” by critically thinking about their actions and whether they might pose a fire risk.

Pilgreen and Tuscaloosa Fire Marshal Gene Holcomb told Tuscaloosa News that chains or objects hanging from cars, 
fireworks, campfires and discarded cigarettes that are not properly extinguished can all cause sparks and potentially pose a major risk.

According to the National Weather Service, drought conditions will likely continue through the rest of October, with November bringing possible relief.

Compiled by Rebecca Rakowitz