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Weather conditions dangerous for outdoor burning

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Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Jan 24 2014 12:14 PM

Wildfires are popping up throughout the wiregrass. A lack of humidity and strong winds are creating dry and dangerous conditions for fires to start and quickly spread. After months of rain last summer, many grass and wooded areas in Houston County are overgrown and once the freezing temperatures set in, most of that vegetation died off, leaving areas susceptible to wildfires from the slightest spark. Because of that dangerous combination a Red Flag Warning was issued the past two days for Southeast Alabama.

"When relativity humidity levels are below a certain percent usually low 20s with winds exceeding fifteen to twenty miles an hour so that's the weather conditions we've had yesterday and today," said Jerry Smith, Houston County’s Work Unit Manager for Alabama’s Forestry Commission.

Those conditions have kept Houston County's 17 volunteer fire departments extremely busy.

"We had five woods fires over the weekend. One was a fifteen acre fire and the others were smaller fires. With the winds like they are now if we don't get to them very quickly we have had some major issues with it," said Jimmy Posey, Ashford’s Fire Chief.

Because of the dangerous conditions, outside burning is not recommended.

"We need to be concerned with it. You are liable for that fire, you're responsible for that fire so even if you're just burning a pile of leaves and you go inside to eat lunch or get a drink of water and it escapes your yard you are responsible for that," said Smith.

 He says if you absolutely have to burn items, make sure the fire is completely extinguished when you're done.

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