Gov. Bentley signs burn ban in emergency declaration - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gov. Bentley signs burn ban in emergency declaration

(Source: Governor's Office) (Source: Governor's Office)

A Drought Emergency Declaration, prohibiting all outdoor burning in 46 counties, is now in effect. 

Governor Robert Bentley made the order official on Wednesday afternoon. 

The decision comes two days after the state forestry commission issued a fire alert for 46 counties. North Alabama counties covered in the declaration include: Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall and Morgan.

READ MORE: Alabama Forestry Commission issues Fire Alert for 46 counties

Firefighters have battled fires all across the state as a result of drought conditions. 

“The current drought condition in our state is posing a serious threat for wildfires,” Governor Bentley said. “The continued lack of rain combined with low relative humidity and strong winds are putting several counties at a very high risk. This declaration is meant to prevent unnecessary burning, reducing the chance of avoidable fires.”

Over the last seven days, 341 wildfires have burned over 4,100 acres in Alabama, according to Alabama Forestry Commission fire officials.

“We need rain desperately. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen an increase, not only in the number of wildfires, but also in the size of these fires. Several of them have been very large wildfires,” State Forester Gary Cole said. “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. These burning restrictions are a necessary result of the ongoing lack of precipitation, the recent increased number of fires, high probability of fuel ignition, as well as the reduced availability of firefighting manpower and suppression resources across the state.”

The Drought Emergency Declaration order will remain in effect until rescinded by the State Forester, at which time conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires.

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