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North Alabama will need significant rain to beat the drought

The Alabama Forestry Commission's Jackson County office has assisted in 11 brush fires this month.

Posted: Oct 8, 2019 6:45 PM
Updated: Oct 8, 2019 9:33 PM

The Alabama Forestry Commission's Jackson County office has assisted in 11 brush fires this month. Even with the rain North Alabama saw on Monday, we aren't out of the woods.

"I was able to put that into the ground just now, and last week, you couldn't even put it in the ground in front of our office," said Bruce Bradford.

Bradford with the Alabama Forestry Commission showed us how they measure moisture in the ground. Last week, he says they couldn't even get the device in to take a measurement, but on Tuesday, the moisture in the soil was measuring well. All last week, they were sitting on go, travelling from fire to fire, each amplified more and more by the drought.

Because of Monday's rain, the soil and their schedules have seen some major improvement. This won't last long. In order to take a deep breath and be out of drought territory, the WAAY 31 weather team says we would need several days of substantial rainfall.

Monday's rain doesn't cut it and Bradford says if people don't know that, they could actually cause a few more fires.

"When you have a little rain on a Saturday and then on Sunday, they'll go out and, 'Oh, it's okay. We had a little rain. It's okay to burn.' The situation and the circumstances may not be conducive to burning," said Bradford.

Jackson County is still in the "severe-to-extreme" drought category, which is the worst in North Alabama. Right now, seven fires are burning statewide. One is in Birmingham, and the rest are south.

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