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Fire Warning Descriptions



Red Flag Warning
- (Issued by the National Weather Service)

The National Weather Service will issue a "Red Flag Warning" for specific areas when weather conditions indicate a high fire potential. This warning is very short term, and is only in place while the weather conditions are occurring. A warning will be issued when the following conditions occur.

Cool Season Criteria: November 1- April 30

Relative Humidity is < 25% for 4 or more consecutive hours; OR Relative Humidity is < 25% with
sustained 20 ft winds of 20 mph or higher (no time restrictions)

Warm Season Criteria: May 1- October 31

Relative Humidity is < or = to 30% with 20 ft winds> or = to 10 mph for 4 or more consecutive
hours; and Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) > or = to 500**

•• If a county is under a Fire Alert the KBDI criteria is suspended.


Fire Alert - (Issued by the Alabama Forestry Commission)

When weather conditions are such that there are an abnormal number of wildfires, or several unusually large wildfires in an area, or when there is an issue with severe smoke causing air quality degradation, The State Forester may issue a Fire Alert for specified counties. This allows the Alabama Forestry Commission to restrict the issuing of Burning permits. On most days, permits are issued to everyone who meets the requirements of the permit law. During a Fire Alert, only Certified Prescribed Burn Managers with adequate manpower and equipment may be issued a permit.

 
Drought Emergency - (Issued by the Governor)
A Drought Emergency can be declared when a Fire Alert fails to control a wildfire situation. Generally this occurs when the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is over 600 and there are on average more than 1 wildfire per county per day over a wide area. The State Forester works with the Governor’s Office to issue a formal regulation, which has the effect of law. A Drought Emergency is commonly called a “No Burn Order” and prohibits any outdoor burning, including any prescribed burns, camp fires, trash fires.

The regulations allow barbeque fires for cooking IF the fire is in a charcoal grill or masonry barbeque pit, including large barbeque pits used by civic organizations to prepare food. Anyone grilling or barbequing during the Drought Emergency should have water hoses on site to prevent any loose sparks from setting a wildfire, a circle at least 10 feet wide around the grill should be cleared of any burnable material. Side fires to generate coals for a barbeque must also be within a grill or masonry pit. Gas grills are allowed.

Summer Burning Restrictions (Issued by Alabama Department of Environmental Management)
Under ADEM regulations, non-agricultural burns are not allowed during the months of May, June, July, August, September, and October. Counties include Baldwin, Dekalb, Etowah, Jefferson*, Lawrence, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Morgan, Russell, Shelby, and Talladega. In an effort to uphold these restrictions, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) does not issue burn permits for miscellaneous burns or for land clearing in these counties in these months. Burn permits may only be issued for: (1) fuel reduction, (2) wildlife, (3) hardwood control, (4) other understory, (5) piled debris (for silvicultural site prep only), (6) scattered debris, and (7) agriculture. For more information contact Lud Hoffmann, ADEM, 334-271-7879.

*Note, no permits for ANY prescribed burns will be issued in Jefferson County during the months listed above, by order of the Jefferson County Department of Health.
USDA Forest Service Public-Use Restrictions - (Issued by the USFS)
  During times of high wildfire danger, The USDA Forest Service may restrict or close a portion of a National Forest to the public. This is a safety consideration as well as a fire prevention action. These restrictions are posted on the USDA Forest Service website.www.fs.fed.us/r8/alabama
 

Additional Information:

- National Weather Service - Watches, Warnings & Advisories 
- USDA Forest Service - National Forests in Alabama
- Alabama Department of Environmental Management