Special to the
Opelika Observer

The Alabama Forestry Commission has issued a fire alert for 46 Alabama counties, including Lee and surrounding counties, effective immediately. While under a fire alert, burn permits will be issued at the discretion of the state forester.
There is no state-wide outdoor burn ban in effect, as has been reported by other media.
According to AFC fire officials, the fire alert was issued because of the current drought situation, continued lack of precipitation, high probability of fuel ignition, and shortage of available firefighting manpower and resources. With this extremely dry weather, conditions are such that any fire can quickly spread out of control, not only resulting in damage to our forests but also threatening and destroying homes. Over the last seven days, 307 wildfires have occurred across Alabama burning approximately 3,698 acres.
This fire alert will remain in effect until rescinded by the state forester, at which time conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires. The Commission is urging everyone to exercise all necessary safety precautions when doing any type of outdoor burning, and to call the Alabama Forestry Commission to obtain a burn permit. While under the fire alert, permits for outdoor burning in these counties will be restricted and issued on an individual basis.
If drouth conditions continue to worsen over the next 7 to 10 days, a total burn ban may be issued.
For more information on the current wildfire situation in the state or any other forestry-related issues, contact your local AFC office or visit the agency website at www.forestry.alabama.gov/fire_total.