ADEM Summer Burning Restrictions are in effect
Burn Restriction Definitions
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 1st to April 30th
- 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 1st to October 31st
- 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 Danger Warning - 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.
Summer Burning Restrictions - Issued by the 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) wildlife, (2) hardwood control, (3) other understory, (4) piled debris (for silvicultural site prep only), (5) scattered debris, and (6) agriculture. For more information contact Don Barron, 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 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.