Weekend rain too little to help drought situation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A bulldozer pulls a fire line at a fire last week in Covington County. | File photo

This weekend’s scattered rainfall did little to alleviate the potential for fires or drought conditions in Covington County, said Mike Older with the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Weather reports show Andalusia and Opp received nearly an inch of rain between Friday and Sunday, while Florala received only a 0.12 inches. The heaviest rainfall came Sunday with nearly a half an inch reported.

“The northern part of the county, like up near Rose Hill and Straughn, didn’t get any,” Older said. Older is the work unit forester for Covington, Coffee and Geneva counties. “What little showers we did get in the county may have reduced the possibility of a fire in that specific area, but countywide, it made no difference in our situation.”

Older said firefighters worked another fire caused by lightning Sunday. He said three acres were burned before it was contained. It was the fourth fire over the last five days. Two previous fires burned at least 123 acres in the county. One was caused by a spark from a flat tire, and the other, lightning.

“We’re still under a burn ban, and we’re still looking at things very seriously,” he said. “What rain we’re getting is very scattered. We’re thankful for it, but, like I said, it’s not enough to change our situation.”

Throughout the remainder of the week, there is a 20 percent chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms, with highs in the upper 90s.

Older reminded residents about the burn ban in place.

He said violators of that ban can be fined between $250-$500 and could face up to six months in jail.

“If you see someone who is not obeying the burn ban, call your local law enforcement,” he said.

Municipal residents should call the local police department, and county residents, the Covington County Sheriff’s Office.