Alabama Forestry Commission pushing safety this July 4

WINSTON COUNTY - Picnics, barbecues, and outdoor fun are an important part of Independence Day celebrations for many Alabama families. However, for those who plan to celebrate with cookouts and fireworks, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) encourages extra safety precautions due to the dry conditions across much of the state. All outdoors fires should be monitored until burning is complete and properly extinguished before leaving them.
 “With persisting dry conditions throughout Alabama, we’re issuing a fuels advisory for most counties. Grasses and timber litter have dried to the extent that fires start easily and can grow quickly,” said State Forester Rick Oates. “Despite some areas receiving rain recently, the excessive heat will negate any beneficial rainfall.
“According to the most recent Drought Monitor, much of the state is now classified as Abnormally Dry with a few areas listed as Moderate Drought .” Oates continued, “People should be particularly cautious with burning in either of these areas as there is a higher chance of wildfire starts and escapes. There are even cases of fires rekindling from debris that was burned several days ago. In the past 10 days, the AFC has responded to 76 wildfires damaging approximately 1,507 acres.”
 Before any type of burning, please review the current Alabama Drought Monitor for drought conditions in your area at
 Avoid shooting fireworks in or near dry grass, leaves, or other combustible materials. Thoroughly soak the area with water where fireworks are to be discharged and have a garden hose or other source of water nearby.
 The same preventive measures apply when using charcoal grills. Do not dump hot coals in, near, or around dry grass, leaves, or other flammable materials. Do not bury hot coals. Allow briquettes to cool completely; or soak with lots of water, stir them, and soak again, being sure they are cold to the touch. Take precautions that hot embers do not fall through the bottom of the grill. Never leave a grill unattended.
 Remember what Smokey Bear said . . . “Please be careful! Only YOU can prevent wildfires.” A major goal of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama’s forests. To learn more about the AFC, visit or contact your local AFC office.

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
Subscribe now!