E-911: Grass fires up

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Despite the recent rains, there remains a real problem with grass fires in Covington County.

E-911 reports show there have been 17 grass fires and nine woods fires reported in the last two weeks.

Mike Older, a manager and forester with the Alabama Forestry Commission, said residents should remember to keep a watchful eye on outdoor flames.

“This is the time of year when people are doing yard work, burning leaves and doing things in the yard,” Older said. “One of the most important things a person can do when deciding to burn leaves and such is to make sure there is a clean line around the area to keep it from spreading.

“There’s also a lot of people who think that since the fire has died down it’s safe to leave it and go inside,” he said. “That’s not the case. In fact, about 90 percent of the time, that’s when fires get out of control. It only takes a second to happen.”

Older said residents should also remember that grass dries very quickly, despite a heavy rain the night before.

“Take (Tuesday), the ground (was) still wet,” he said. “As soon as a little sun hits it, that ground will be dry. It doesn’t take much sun, either. If you’re out there burning, please make sure you have a hose close and that you wet your fire good before leaving it.”