Wiregrass forestry officials are urging people to be careful with any kind of outdoor fire, this holiday season.
A dry summer and cold winter are proving to be a bad combination in the Wiregrass, because as the Christmas holiday approaches fire officials are concerned about the possibility of an increase in wildfires.
"With the extremely dry conditions, lack of rainfall and low relative humidity’s that come with the fronts that pass through, it makes for excellent conditions for wildfires," said Todd Taggart of the Alabama Forestry Commission.
Humidity is another factor contributing to this heightened state of alert. With less moisture on the ground and in the air, officials say fires can spread fast.
"When it gets below 35% here, that's really considered low... we had a couple of days when it was in the teens which is dangerously low," said Forestry Commission Official, Jerry Smith.
Smith goes on to say, "That causes the fuels, the light fuels such as grasses and small shrubs to dry and cure, so they become more flammable, because there is less moisture in the plant."
Officials say people should report any suspicious fire by calling 911, never leave a fire of any kind unattended, make sure to clear an area of any grass and leaves before building a campfire, and never burn yard waste during dry, windy conditions. And if you do have to burn trash in these conditions, make sure to do it in a secure area.
Anyone with any questions or concerns about the cause and spread of wildfires is urged to call the local office of the Alabama Forestry Commission, at (334) 677-5454.