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Alabama Forestry Commission: Firefighters battled 78 wildfires that burned over 2,800 acres Wednesday

Stone Gate fire in Shelby County
Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 6:03 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2022 at 12:55 PM CDT
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SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - MARCH 31 UPDATE: Wildland Fire Update: With sustained winds 20-25 mph and gusts 40+ mph, Alabama Forestry Commission wildland firefighters had their hands full on March 30 with 78 wildfires that burned over 2,800 acres. The Alabama Forestry Commission says no area of the state was immune from flames as fires occurred from north to south across Alabama. During the afternoon and early evening, fire behavior became so erratic and dangerous that firefighters were triaging fires when they arrived. Action was taken only on the ones that could be attached safely. Commission firefighters had not seen a day like yesterday since November 28, 2016 (during the drought of that year) when crews were forced to stand-down on many fires because of the dangerous conditions.

Firefighters started their day Thursday morning physically checking fires from Wednesday. Many are reporting smoldering stumps on some fires, but all containment lines held.

Stonegate Fire: Crews checking on the Stonegate Fire Thursday morning report that containment lines held during the windy day yesterday. There are still some smoldering logs and stumps in the interior of the 740-acre fire, but everything adjacent to the lines is out. Firefighters will continue to keep a close eye on this fire for the next few days.

Fire Statistics: March 30, 2022 – 78 fires, 2,802 acres burned.

Last 7 days: March 25, 2002 through March 31, 2022 – 156 fires, 4,930 acres burned.

March 2022-2021 Comparison

2022: March 1 through March 31, 2022 – 471 fires, 16,038 acres burned.

2021: March 1 through March 31, 2021 – 340 fires, 7,286 acres burned.

January – March 2022-2021 Comparison

2022: January 1, 2022 through March 31, 2022 – 869 fires, 25,952 acres burned.

2021: January 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021 – 546 fires, 10,276 acres burned.

Firefighters continue to patrol the containment lines of the Stonegate fire in north Shelby County. The Alabama Forestry Commission says they are also mitigating any hot spot areas inside the lines to help ensure live embers do not escape and start a fire outside the containment area.

“Crews will remain vigilant on this fire until we receive measurable rainfall,” The Alabama Forestry Commission said.

Below is video of aerial footage of the aftermath of the fire taken by the Alabama Forestry Commission.

The Alabama Forestry Commission says Alabama has had dozens of new fires on March 30. Over 40 of those fires were still active at 5 p.m.

Fire departments who responded to a wildfire in the Logan Community in western Cullman County reported flame lengths of 30 feet.

“Any type of outdoor open flame [on March 30] has the potential of escaping and starting a wildfire. We are urging everyone to hold off on outdoor burning until after we receive rain,” said The Alabama Forestry Commission.

UPDATE: Crews, working around the clock for days, have fully contained the Stonegate fire in north Shelby County. Total containment was reached at 2:42 p.m. on March 29, 2022, according to the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Coleen Vansant, with the Alabama Forestry Commission, said 23 people (representing 18 counties across Alabama) are still working on the fire, reinforcing the containment lines, cutting any dead trees near the lines, and other work to ensure live sparks do not have a chance to escape during predicted strong winds on March 30, 2022.

Crews battle Stone Gate Fire
Crews battle Stone Gate Fire(Alabama Forestry Commission)
Crews battle Stone Gate Fire
Crews battle Stone Gate Fire(Alabama Forestry Commission)
Crews battle Stone Gate Fire
Crews battle Stone Gate Fire(Alabama Forestry Commission)
Crews battle Stone Gate Fire
Crews battle Stone Gate Fire(Alabama Forestry Commission)
Wildfire in Coosa County

How things are going this year (Alabama Forestry Commission):

Comparing last year and this year fire stats March 1-March 29.

2021 – 338 fires – 7,283 acres burned

2022 – 390 fires – 14,168 acres burned

Click here to see the Wildfire map.

ORIGINAL: Representatives with the Alabama Forestry Commission say crews are battling a fire in Shelby County, the Stonegate fire, near Stonegate Drive.

The fire began on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Officials say no homes are currently being threatened by the fire, and that no evacuations are being done.

Officials say the containment lines were being jumped, so the ALEA helicopter was brought in to do water drops. Firefighters across the state are working on containing the fire

Alabama Forestry reps say additional personnel arrived Monday morning. Crews were able to contain the west flank and interior of the fire. They are working the east flank which is extremely rough terrain.

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