Theodore Dawes


Chief’s Tailboard Talk for March 2024

Hello Theodore Dawes Fire District,

I hope this episode of Tailboard Talk finds you well. I would first like to apologize for missing February, I got so busy with some personal matters along with department obligations that it completely slipped my mind. We will get back into the swing of things with this March edition.

In the course of my daily activities, I ramble through a multitude of ideas, issues, and operational concerns and needs for the department. Many of those items would be great topics to bring out in one of the Tailboard Talks, but some would prove quite boring. I try to make these writings educational as well as interesting for the readers. Well, this weekend (Feb. 24-25) dumped an excellent topic right into my lap. The topic is burning and the need for those who choose to burn, to do so wisely. The past weekend saw multiple grass and woods fires across Mobile County. Here in the Theodore Dawes area, we had one that got away from the occupant and destroyed her garage, shed, and threatened the neighbors. Seven Hills area had one that destroyed multiple structures but fortunately there were no homes lost. For several hours from mid-morning to late afternoon on Saturday, departments across the county were overwhelmed with woods and grass fire that got out of hand. Folks, I get it, Spring seems to be in the air, the pollen count is picking up and we are having some beautiful days. But please keep in mind that just because it’s a beautiful day, does not mean it’s a good day to burn. The past weekend were not good burning days, simply because the wind was too high. The State Forestry Commission has since issued a burning advisory due to all the uncontrolled fires created by the high winds. If you’re burning and the smoke is perpendicular to the ground rather than rising, you should not be burning. I witnessed one such occurrence while out on Saturday and the pile which was in front of the person’s home was blowing directly into the house.

Here are some rules to follow when you decide to burn on a more suitable day. 1) Never leave your fire unattended. Always maintain a vigilant watch over your fire, it only takes a second to get out of hand. 2) Keep your fire at least 50 feet away from any structures. ADEM
rule is 500 feet from occupied structures. 3) Have some means on hand to extinguish your fire: a garden hose, a tractor, or hand tools to combat spreading fire. 4) You should only be burning vegetative materials that originated on your property. Also know that household garbage should never be burned, per ADEM rules, along with plastics, rubber, and several other materials that typically emit toxic and nauseous odors. Lastly, the ADEM burn ban is annual and automatic, it begins on May 1st and runs through October 31st and has nothing to do with weather conditions. The ADEM burn ban is in place to enforce a Federal Clean Air Act that was adopted by our Federal Government. I will say their fines are hefty. Mobile County Litter Patrol is often involved with repeat garbage fire offenders, and they levy fines as well. Your Theodore Dawes Fire Department simply asks you to think before you burn, do it safely on appropriate days, and be respectful as well as courteous to your neighbors, many of whom may like to enjoy an afternoon of clean fresh air.

Thank you for reading and for allowing us to service your community’s emergency needs.