Wildfires Threaten Alabama; Governor Signs No Burn Order

Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday signed an order banning outside fires across most of Alabama because dry conditions have led to fast-spreading wildfires.

The governor signed the drought emergency declaration, putting 46 counties under the no burn order. The drought declaration prohibits campfires, bonfires, any trash or debris fires or any other open burning. Violators can be fined up to $500 and sentenced to up to six months in jail, according to the Alabama Forestry Commission.

The declaration from the governor comes after fire officials this week also called for a halt to outside fires.

Alabama Forestry Commission officials said 341 wildfires have burned over 4,100 acres in Alabama over the last seven days.

State Forester Gary Cole said fire can spread quickly under the dry conditions in the state.

“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,” Cole said.

The remaining counties in Alabama are under a fire alert.