Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday, Nov. 15, issued a statewide ‘No Burn Order.’ She signed a statewide Drought Emergency Declaration which prohibits all outdoor burning in Alabama. This order was effective Nov. 9, 2023, at 8 a.m. CST.
“Alabama is currently experiencing extremely dry conditions, which greatly increases the potential for dangerous wildfire activity. State Forester Rick Oates and his team have been working around-the-clock to keep our forests safe and fires contained, and I commend them for their efforts to protect Alabamians, our homes, and our wildlife,” said Governor Ivey. “This declaration is meant to prevent unnecessary burning, reducing the chance of avoidable fires. I urge Alabamians to heed this warning.”
Since the statewide Fire Alert was issued on Oct. 24, AFC firefighters have responded to 352 wildfires that have burned 3,199 acres across the state.
“These burning restrictions are a necessary result of the ongoing lack of precipitation and high probability of fuel ignition,” said State Forester Rick Oates.
“During the last month we’ve seen an increase not only in the number of wildfires, but also in the size of those fires.”
Oates continued, “With this prolonged drought, conditions are such that any outdoor fire can rapidly spread out of control, taking longer – and more firefighting resources – to contain and ultimately control.
“Even though we are predicted to get a small amount of rain this weekend, it will not be enough to lessen the wildfire danger.”
The Drought Emergency Declaration order will remain in effect until rescinded by the State Forester, at which time conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires.
A Drought Emergency is commonly called a “No Burn Order” and prohibits any outdoor burning, including any prescribed burns, camp fires, trash fires.
This ban means no fire pits, no bonfires, and no burning of any kind on public or private land. If you violate this order, according to Alabama law, you can be charged with a misdemeanor, pay a fine no less than $250 and up to $500. If convicted, you could spend up to six months in jail.
The regulations allow barbeque fires for cooking IF the fire is in a charcoal grill or masonry barbeque pit, including large barbeque pits used by civic organizations to prepare food.
Anyone grilling or barbequing during the Drought Emergency should have water hoses on site to prevent any loose sparks from setting a wildfire, a circle at least 10 feet wide around the grill should be cleared of any burnable material.
Side fires to generate coals for a barbeque must also be within a grill or masonry pit. Gas grills are allowed.
To report persons burning in violation of this law, contact your local law enforcement.
For more information on the current wildfire situation in the state, visit Alabama Forestry Commission’s website at www.forestry.alabama.gov.