Thrown out cigarette butts, drought conditions have neighbors concerned

Drought conditions ripe for fires

PINSON, Ala. (WBRC) - Drought conditions across Central Alabama are causing concerns for some who say small fires have happened due to dry conditions and smokers tossing partially extinguished butts out along roadways.

A Pinson man claimed a tossed cigarette caused a small fire near his home off Sweeny Hollow Road.

A Grayson Valley woman said the same happened at a nearby gas station, and if it weren’t for a fast response from everyone there, it could’ve been a much bigger disaster.

(Source: Brittany Dionne)

“I looked to my left and there were flames coming out of the garbage can,” exclaimed Leslie Speakman.

Speakman said it happened Wednesday.

On Friday, the melted, charred, garbage can still remained at the Shell gas station on Sweeny Hollow Road in Pinson.

Speakman’s daughter, Nikki Strickland, ran to get help.

“It was so crazy. She was freaking out,” recalled Strickland.

Strickland said the gas station attendants all came out with water and one man kicked the trash can away from the tanks.

Speakman said everyone believed the fire was caused by a thrown out cigarette.

Drier than normal conditions are causing concerns across the map.

“The drought is still a big issue around here,” said Strickland.

The latest drought monitor shows the driest areas in Shelby County, but WBRC Meteorologist Wes Wyatt said it’s been a unique summer for Central Alabama.

“It’s been an interesting summer because we’ve had so much rain in some areas, and then in other areas we’ve had a severe drought,” said Meteorologist Wes Wyatt.

Wyatt said other areas have been affected as well.

“Jefferson County, parts of Tuscaloosa County, Bibb County, we’ve had drought conditions there as well,” added Wyatt.

Wyatt said the drought conditions will likely expand as we head into October, Alabama’s driest month.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the gas station fire.

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