As spring approaches, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) is urging everyone to use caution when burning outdoors. Conditions are such that any fire can quickly spread out of control, not only threatening lives and property, but also resulting in damage to Alabama’s forests.

“While Alabamians are recovering from the recent tornados that moved through the state, it is important that debris not be burned. With the large amount of timber that was downed by the storms, we must take every precaution necessary to avoid the start of wildfires and further loss of homes and property,” said State Forester Rick Oates.

At this time, the AFC has not issued any orders restricting burning in the state. However, it is Alabama state law to obtain a burn permit before burning any woodland, grassland, field, or wood debris greater than one quarter acre or within 25 feet of flammable material. Burning without a permit is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $3,000 fine. Even though the burner has a permit, he/she is still responsible for any damage to others that may be caused by the fire or smoke. Allowing a fire to escape is also a Class B misdemeanor. There are also county and city laws that restrict outdoor burning, so potential burners are responsible for contacting their local government for additional information.

The mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principles and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy. For more information, visit the AFC website at forestry.alabama.gov.