USDA Forest Service Places Public Fire Restrictions in Alabama’s National Forests

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WBMA) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service announced an alert for all forest visitors to be aware of specific fire restrictions placed in Alabama’s national forests.

The lands include Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee National Forests.

Degrading fire hazard conditions have prompted Acting Forest Supervisor Timothy Spivey to sign a forest closure order to restrict the public from using fire or building campfires on the national forests except those within developed recreation areas that are confined to receptacles designed for fires.

The forest service said commercially available fuel stoves (camp stoves) and backpacking stoves are excluded from the restriction. Forest Service officials are also prohibiting possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or pyrotechnic device. The following public restrictions are effective on Oct. 30, 2023, and will remain in effect until November 30, 2023, or terminated by a Forest Supervisor.

According to Martie Knipe, fire management officer for the USDA Forest Service in Alabama, anyone found violating these prohibitions might face a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for an organization or imprisonment for not more than six months or both. “It’s important we work together to protect our forests from wildfires,” said Knipe.

Those who are exempt from these restrictions will be persons with a permit issued by a District Ranger or Forest Supervisor which specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act or omission; and any federal, state, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.

The following acts are prohibited:

1.Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire (including charcoal) outside of developed recreation areas. Fires at developed recreation areas must be confined to receptacles designed for fire. 36 C.F.R. 261.52(a). Exemptions to Prohibition: Commercially available fuel stoves (camp stoves) and backpacking stoves are excluded from this restriction. Definition: A “developed recreation site” means an area which has been improved or developed for recreation. 36 C.F.R. 261.2.

2.Violating any state law concerning burning or fires which are implemented for the purpose of preventing or restricting the spread of fires. 36 C.F.R. 261.52(k). For purposes of this Forest Order, no person shall build or start any fire during any period for which a drought emergency or burn ban has been declared by the Alabama State Forester. Ala. Admin Code r. 390-X-7-.09.

3.Possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device. 36 CFR 261.52(f).

Source : ABC 33/40


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