By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore Fire Department Chief Ron Peebles announced Monday, Dec. 5, that the ban on outdoor burning that has been in effect for the past two months, has been lifted.
Peebles said the ban, which went into effect in early October, is no longer necessary, since the community had experienced enough rainfall over the past three weeks to lessen the danger of wildfires.
The ban was imposed less than a week after a fire, whipped by high winds, burned nearly 30 acres near Atmore Municipal Airport, and a brush fire that erupted just off James Road, near Nokomis that took an hour to control.
Peebles reminded residents of the city that municipal ordinances require that only yard debris (limbs, leaves, etc.) and wood may be legally burned within the city limits.
“We’ve had enough rain that I’m going to go ahead and lift (the ban),” the fire chief said. “People can burn now, but they still have to go by the ordinances.”
Those who do burn their yard debris must have a water hose handy and must not burn the debris within 100 feet of a house or other structure. Plastic items and household garbage may not be burned.
No major fires — structural, woodland or grass — were reported during the period the ban was in effect.
“It’s been really quiet,” Peebles said, tapping on his wooden desk as he spoke. “We haven’t had anything major. There hasn’t been any house fires and we haven’t had any more big outdoor fires.”
He reminded residents that cold weather is still on the horizon, meaning they should have chimneys and heating units checked if they haven’t already. He also warned of the dangers of space heaters.
“People who haven’t already done so need to have their furnaces or chimneys checked by a licensed person,” he said. “You don’t need anything flammable within three feet of a space heater, never use an extension cord with a space heater and never leave a space heater on when you leave home. Actually, it’s not a bad idea to unplug them when you leave.”