Because prolonged drought conditions throughout the state have increased the likelihood of catastrophic wildfire activity, Gov. Robert Bentley has issued an immediate ban on outdoor burning in all 67 counties.

“The lack of rain and unseasonably high temperatures have left much of the state extremely dry, creating high risk potential for devastating wildfires,” Bentley said. “As Alabamians are recovering from the tornados that moved through the state in April, it is important that debris not be burned. We must take every precaution necessary to avoid the start of a wildfire.” 

Under the ban, it is illegal for a person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wild lands or marshes, to build a campfire or bonfire, or to burn trash or other material that may cause a forest, grass, or woods fire. The fine for violating the no burn order is up to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

Because of budget cuts and subsequent layoffs in 2010, State Forester Linda Casey said Alabama already has a shortage in firefighters.

“We’ve got three crews from north Alabama that’s down in south Baldwin County fighting fires, and it’s leaving those other counties high and dry," Casey said. "We’re juggling as best we can right now.”