Storm eases fire hazards in area

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Thirty-two of Alabama’s fifty-one counties were removed from the Alabama Forestry Commission’s Fire Alert list on Monday thanks to the down pouring of rain this weekend.

Included in the list of the thirty-two counties were all five counties that the Demopolis Times serves Marengo, Hale, Sumter, Perry and Greene.

During the alert, Marengo and Perry were the only two counties in our area to have fires that caused loss of land. Marengo had one fire that resulted in the loss of three acres. Perry also only had one fire, but it burned 15 acres.

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Almost all the northern counties and the middle counties came off the list, but the extreme southern counties didn’t receive the amounts of rain as the rest of the state. So, they are currently still on the Fire Alert.

This spring’s fire season was one of the worst in recent history. In the month of March, 1,540 fires burnt 23,962 Alabama. Alabama ranked number two behind Georgia in March for the number of fire starts and number one in number of acres burned.

The AFC blame the extremely dry weather pattern this spring and a shortage of firefighter personnel. Alabama is second among southern states in forested acres, approximately 23 million, but last in the number of state forestry personnel per million acres of forestland.

In 1991 the Commission had 529 employees, today the agency has around 350.

Since October 1, 2003 3,282 fires have burned 41,213 acres in Alabama.