Tuesday, October 1, 2019

USDA Forest Service News Release - Campfire Restrictions and Fireworks Ban in Alabama's National Forests

News Release -
The Forest Service announced today that extreme drought conditions have prompted Forest Supervisor Cherie Hamilton to sign a fire closure order throughout Alabama’s Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee National Forests.   The closure order will 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. Commercially available fuel stoves (camp stoves) and backpacking stoves are excluded from the restriction. The Forest Supervisor’s order also prohibits using fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices in national forests.

To protect the public and natural resources from the threat of wildfires, the following public restrictions are effective September 30, 2019 and will remain in effect until November 1, 2019:

  Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega, and Tuskegee National Forests

  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 CFR 261.52 (a).
Exemptions to Prohibition:  Commercially available fuel stoves (camp stoves) and backpacking stoves are excluded from this restriction.

  1. Violating any state law concerning burning or fires which are implemented for the purpose of preventing or restricting the spread of fires.   36 CFR 261.52(k)
  2. Possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device.  36 CFR 261.52(f)

Pursuant to the provisions of Title 36 C.F.R, Section 261.50 (e), the following persons are exempt from the above prohibition:
  1. Persons with a permit specially authorizing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.
  2. Any Federal, State, or Local officer or member of any organized rescue or firefighting force in the official performance of their duties.

Anyone found violating any of these prohibitions might face a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization or imprisonment for not more than six months or both.

For information concerning any public restrictions and closure orders, please contact a U.S. Forest Service district office before visiting: 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.

Fire Alert Issued for Alabama

Fire Alert Issued for Alabama


The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has upgraded the recent Fire Danger Advisory to a statewide Fire Alert effective immediately. While under a Fire Alert, permits for outdoor burning will be restricted and issued on an individual basis at the discretion of the State Forester. Anyone who burns a field, grassland, or woodland without a burn permit may be subject to prosecution for committing a Class B misdemeanor.

This burning restriction is being issued because of the current drought situation, continued lack of precipitation, and high probability of fuel ignition. With this extremely dry weather, conditions are such that any fire can quickly spread out of control, not only resulting in damage to our forests but also threatening lives and destroying property. Over the last week, AFC wildland firefighters have responded to 182 wildfires across Alabama, burning approximately 2,608 acres. These numbers include a 470-acre fire in Talladega County, one for 391 acres in DeKalb County, and several which were over 100 acres, but they do not reflect the numerous fires suppressed by volunteer fire departments (VFDs) across the state. The local VFDs are great partners to the AFC in times of high fire occurrence.

This Fire Alert will remain in effect until rescinded by the State Forester, at which time conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires. To report a wildfire, call the Alabama Forestry Commission at (800) 392-5679. For more information on the current wildfire situation in the state or any other forestry-related issues, contact your local AFC office or visit the agency website at www.forestry.alabama.gov/Pages/Fire/Totals.aspx. The Alabama Forestry Commission is the state agency committed to protecting Alabama’s invaluable forest assets as well as its citizens.

Monday, September 23, 2019

WCNRC September Meeting Minutes

Members present: Allison Cochran, Chair; Mike Henshaw, Vice Chair; Johnna Franks, Treasurer; Kerri Roberts, Secretary; Zack Brannon, Andy Baril, Jimmy Madison, Maggie Johnston, and Rollins Jolly

* Allison opened the meeting by introducing Rollins, the new Bankhead Wildlife Biologist
* Zack discussed FAWN with an agenda update.  Jeremy has the shirt order under control. All schools are attending.  There will be 8 stations as in the past.  Johnna asked for a number of kids attending so she could purchase water.  Maggie interjected that if possible, could we please find an alternative to plastic disposable water bottles.  Kerri suggested the council purchase reusable water bottles with the FAWN logo.  Jimmy will confirm the EMS walk-thru on October 7 at 9:00 am.  All that want to attend the walk-thru are invited to.
*  Zack spoke for Mark Finley about a landowner’s conference in Prattville. Asked if members knew any local citizens who would like to donate a gift to the conference for a silent auction.
* Allison gave a report about the Smith Lake Advocacy. She said Renew our Rivers was awarded conservationist of the year and the Smith Lake Clean-Up was a success with a full construction dumpster donated by Hyche Environmental.  They did have lots of Styrofoam encapsulated in plastic.  That type is getting more difficult to remove.  The Advocacy’s next meeting is Friday , October 4, at 6:00 pm at the Arley Fire House.
* Johnna gave a balance of WCNRC as $12,454.46.  That included funds from Alabama Forever for $400 and $1000 from Soil and Water Conservation District.
* Kerri reported she had been texting with Matt Brock about getting a CWD testing drop off in Winston County.  She asked if anyone had a suggestion for a central location that is covered and a deep freeze could be plugged in. Kerri also made a motion about funds for Kevin England’s Envirothon team at WCHS. The council had discussed helping him this year with $500 if he had a team go.  None opposed the motion. The funds are contingent on Mr. England registering a team for the state competition in April.
*  Allison reported on the recent Bats and Forest workshop in Cleburne County.  It was a huge success.  73 attended.  Goal was bat management education for natural resources personnel. 

* Johnna reported for AFC. T  All of Alabama is under a fire alert. Casey is working on FIA plots and they are busy putting in fire breaks and preparing for prescribed burn season with private landowners.
here was a 10 acre wild fire in Moreland earlier in the day.
* Jimmy noted Winston County EMA has a new website and it’s a work in progress so all comments are appreciated. Winstonalema.org
* North Region Tour will be on Amason Farm in Nov in Aliceville
* Alabama PARC meeting at Camp McDowell Nov1-3 and SE PARC meeting there Feb 20-22

Meeting Adjourned. No Meeting October due to FAWN. Next meeting November 21
Not pictured: Kerri Roberts, Zack Brannon

Monday, September 16, 2019

September WCNRC Meeting coming up

The next meeting of the WCNRC will be Thursday, September 19, at the U.S. Forest Service Office on Highway 33 in Double Springs. The meeting will start at 9:00 am. We hope to see you there.

Monday, August 19, 2019

August Meeting Minutes

Members Present: Allison Cochran, Chair, Mike Henshaw, Vice-Chair, Kerri Roberts, Secretary, Lauranne James, Zack Brannon, Mark Finley,  PJ Gossett, Jimmy Madison, John Creed, Blake Addison, Andy Baril. Visitor, Brad Nail

* Lauranne reported that the RC&D budget will be approved next month. Applications for grants are open now. You can apply at www.nwalrcd.org.  Grants are reimbursement type.  There is also a no-till drill available for rent in Winston County.  There will be a field day for no-till drill in Marion county Tuesday, August 20, 3:00-5:00 pm at the Marion County Extension Office.  North West RC&D quarterly meeting will be in Lauderdale county September 10.

* Zack reported on FAWN.  Dates will be October 8-9.  We have confirmations from all schools except for one.  FAWN is coming together as usual but this being Zack's first one, he is not sure what to expect.  Johnna will be getting food. Jeremy will handle t-shirts.  Many members will be helping out.  There will be a walk through October 7 at 9:00 am. The council decided there would be no additional October meeting since most of us will be together at FAWN if anything needs to be discussed. 

*  Allison stated the forest service has hired a new wildlife biologist. He should be on the job and available to assist with FAWN.  September 10 there will be a Bat Management Seminar at the Cleburn Mountain Center in Heflin.  The U.S. Forest Service has officially partnered with Alabama Water Watch for water monitoring sites. These include sites in Bankhead- specifically the inland Brushy Watershed. 

*  Allison also reported Smith Lake Advocacy will be having a Smith Lake Clean-Up day on September 12 at King Ramp.  She asked Kerri if 4-H can assist. Kerri will look into that.  All council members are encouraged to help out.

*  Andy Baril stated there will be a Hunter Education workshop in Jasper, September 9-10. There will be a PLM workshop at Bevill State on September 11.  Cullman will host a PLM workshop September 14 at the Crazy Rooster restaurant.

*  Brad Nail with the Alabama Forestry Association joined us at the end of our meeting and informed the council about their projects in NW Alabama.  They are working on Shortleaf Pine restoration and also improvement of habitat for at-risk species.

Meeting Adjourned. Next meeting Thursday, September 19. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

August Meeting This Thursday

The August meeting of the WCNRC will be Thursday, August 15, 9:00 am at the U.S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs, Alabama 35553

Monday, August 5, 2019

Native Plants Symposium 2019

The first annual Native Plants Symposium will take place at Huntsville Botanical Garden September 12-14, 2019.  For more information and registration visit this website: