Bentley’s burn ban now includes Covington

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Do not burn.

Gov. Robert Bentley expanded his no burn order Monday to include all 67 counties.

The no burn order prohibits all outdoor burning.

Interim State Forester Gary Cole of the Alabama Forestry Commission presented the formal statewide Declaration of Drought Emergency Conditions to the governor.

“Although 46 counties in North Alabama were already under the No burn order, it was necessary to add the remaining 21 counties in the southern part of the state because of alarming wildfire activity and continued lack of rainfall,” Bentley said. “The expansion of this no burn order is critical to keep our citizens safe from the threat of wildfires and reducing the chance of avoidable fires.”

Since Oct. 1, 1,421 wildfires have occurred in Alabama, destroying some 15,409 acres of forest land.

In the same period last year, 232 wildfires burned 1,846 acres across Alabama.

According to Cole, the no burn order is a result of the prolonged drought that most of the state is experiencing this year, as well as the increasing number of fires that have occurred recently and reduced availability of suppression resources.

“With these extremely dry conditions, any fire can quickly spread out of control. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen an increase not only in the number of wildfires that have occurred, but also the size,” Cole explained. “Several of these fires have been large, not only resulting in damage to our forests but also directly threatening residential areas. If not for the efforts of Forestry Commission firefighters and assistance from volunteer fire departments we would have lost homes.”

Covington County firefighters have responded to several wildfires, as well.

Residents should be mindful that it is illegal for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wildlands or marshes; to build a campfire or bonfire; or to burn trash or other material that may cause a forest, grass or woods fire. Specifically, the regulation prohibits any prescribed burns, any campfire or bonfire, any trash or debris fires, or any other open burning. If convicted, the penalty for violating the no burn order is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

To report violations, contact the closest law enforcement agency.