Theodore Dawes


Chief’s Tailboard Talk for April 2023

Greetings once again to the Theodore and Dawes communities.

Your Theodore Dawes Fire Rescue Department is busy as usual. Personnel have been out in the District lately, inspecting fire hydrants and doing business inspections/familiarization. Expect to see this throughout the year as we work to improve our knowledge of the District and the services we provide.

Spring has sprung according to the pollen count and what I see on my vehicles daily. It’s that time of year when people traditionally get out in the yard and clean up what mother nature has done through the winter months. With this spring cleaning comes burning of leaves, debris, trash, etc. If it is your routine to clean your yard and burn during this time of year, please help us help you by doing so safely. When you light that fire you should plan on standing by to attend it. The fire should not be within 50 feet of any structures and you should have some sort of method with you to extinguish and/or control the fire. We also ask that you be selective of the days you choose to burn. If it’s a very windy day you should not consider burning as you can quickly lose control of your fire regardless of how small you may think it is. You can also be held accountable for any damage caused by a fire you started and lost control of. Statistics can vary but according to the one I read, 90% of all wildfires are started by people. In 2022, there were around 2700 structures burned due to wildfires, of those, 46% were residential. Those numbers indicate that more than 1000 families had their homes damaged or destroyed because of uncontrolled wildfires. Just one should be too many. We also would ask that everyone be respectful of your neighbors. Many of your neighbors could have breathing issues and if you are aware of that please be mindful of their need for clean air. We also may have the occasional day, albeit not to often in South Alabama, where the temperature is pleasant and some of your neighbors may want to open up their homes and let some fresh air in. The smoke from your leaves and/or debris fire is the last odor they wanted to fill their home with. So please be courteous and respectful towards one another when burning.

The latter will bring me to my closing point, Burn Bans. ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Management) has a standing burn ban, which is the law of the land, from May 1st until October 31st. According to the ADEM burn ban, no one is suppose to have vegetative and/or
debris burns during this time. At some time during the year Alabama Forestry and even the County may issue burn bans, those are typically advertised. The ADEM ban is not generally advertised but it is the law none the less. Should we receive a call for a trash fire or a complaint on said fire, we will respond and ask you to put it out or if necessary we will extinguish the fire for you. We are not within any city limits, we are county and most folks are accustomed to burning when and what they please, we ask that you remember that there are laws to the contrary at times and we must do our jobs.

The Theodore Dawes Fire Rescue Department ask that you use common sense, be respectful of one another and each other’s properties when you do decide to light up that pile of leaves or debris. Until next month thank you for letting us be your emergency services provider.

Chief Byrd