BANKHEAD NATIONAL FOREST - With rain improving drought conditions in some parts of Alabama, USDA Forest Service Acting Forest Supervisor Melvin Harris has updated a closure order to reduce fire restriction locations.
Visitors at the Bankhead National Forest (Bankhead District) and Talladega National Forest (Shoal Creek and Talladega Districts) are restricted from using fire or building campfires outside of developed recreation areas. The only approved fires at developed recreation areas must be confined to receptacles designed for fire. 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 Thursday, November 30, 2023 and will remain in effect until terminated by a forest supervisor.
According to Martie Knipe, fire management officer for the USDA Forest Service in Alabama, drought conditions improved in southern counties comprising the Conecuh National Forest.
“We want the public to continue to be careful with fire in northern and eastern counties that contain the Bankhead and Talladega National Forests,” said Knipe. “These counties remain in extreme or severe drought conditions; so we have fire restrictions in place for the Bankhead, Shoal Creek and Talladega Ranger Districts to reduce the threat of wildfires.”
Knipe added the only exceptions involve persons with a permit issued by a district ranger or forest supervisor or any federal, state or local organized rescue or fire fighting force operating in their official duty. Violation of these prohibitions are punishable by 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.
For more information, please contact all district offices before visiting or check the forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/alabama: Bankhead District (205) 489-5111, Conecuh District (334) 222-2555, Shoal Creek District (256) 463-2272; Talladega District (256) 362-2909; Oakmulgee District (205) 926-9765; and the Tuskegee District (334) 727-2652.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.