Fire hazards increase with dry weather

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2010

While many have been enjoying the recent fall weather, there are also a number of dangers associated with the lack of rain.

The official NOAA weather station in Mobile has only seen trace amounts of rain during the month of September, and Luverne’s only local rainfall has been a trace shower last Saturday.

The extremely dry conditions have led to a number of roadside fires, said Luverne assistant fire chief W.A. Neal.

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“We’ve had some brush fires along the highways, especially where the kudzu and the grass is dry enough,” he said. “Those can be started by any discarded items like matches or cigarettes.  We even had a couple of catalytic converters start fires in tall grass.”

No rain is in the immediate forecast, though there is a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms on Saturday.

Neal had several other tips to avoid fire hazards, particularly since leaves are beginning to fall from trees.

Burning is illegal in the city of Luverne unless the fire chief approves a burn permit.

In the county, those permits are issued by the Forestry Commission.

“People also need to use some everyday common sense,” Neal said. “Don’t burn on a windy day.  Also, don’t burn a large pile without the means to control it, whether by water or plowing around it.”

However, it seems that the best fire prevention now may be total refrain from burning.

“Right now, it’s really not safe to burn anywhere,” Neal said.