Dora Fire Chief Chris Edwards posted a notice of the order on the department’s Facebook page, as well as the city’s Facebook page. He said that no burn permits would be issued during this time and fines would be enforced for outdoor burning.
Edwards also said his department was being inundated with grass and brush fire calls over the last week.
Jasper Fire Capt. Alan Clark said his department also was seeing a higher than normal number of fire calls related to the wind and low humidity.
“We are use to having more humidity around here,” Clark said. “Everything is just really dry.”
Jason Berry of the Alabama Forestry Commission said his agency has been fighting fires all over the county and state as well. He encouraged people not to burn and to never leave something burning unattended, but also encouraged homeowners to protect their houses.
“We try to get our homeowners to be proactive and create a defensible space around their houses,” Berry said.
Berry said the wind and sun can dry short grasses out and turn them into easily-lit fuel within an hour or so, creating a perfect environment for a small fire to get out of control.
“People get a false sense of security with the cold weather,” Berry said.
He said in the last week, local fires have burned more than 100 acres, and a fire two weeks ago in Townley burned approximately 156 acres in an hour.
Several grass fires, including one in Sumiton and one in Dora, as well as a few in west Walker County have also claimed structures, including houses and numerous trailers.
The bottom line, according to the experts, is that the risk isn’t worth it.
“We encourage land owners, while we have the low humidity and high winds, to hold off on all their burning until we have some rain or until the wind dies down below five miles per hour,” Berry said.