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.
- KBDI greater than 300
- And Minimum Relative Humidity values less than 25%
- And 20 Foot Winds 15 mph or greater
- And these conditions lasting for a 4 hour duration or longer
*If a particular county is under a Fire Alert, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) criterion is suspended.
Fire Danger Advisory - Issued by the Alabama Forestry Commission
When extremely dry weather conditions and low humidity combine to create an atmosphere favorable for wildfires, the Alabama Forestry Commission urges everyone to delay outdoor burning until conditions improve if at all possible.
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.
USDA Forest Service Public-Use Restrictions - Issued by the United Stated Forest Service
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.