Central Alabama fire departments stretched thin as wildfires continue amid severe drought

Central Alabama fire departments stretched thin as wildfires continue amid severe drought

28 October 2016

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USA —  Fires have scorched thousands of acres across Alabama. Crews are struggling to keep current wildfires from spreading and new ones from starting. Our state’s trees, bushes and other property have taken a beating over the last month. Fire crews are no exception. Resources are stretched especially within small departments.

Firefighters can’t catch a break. Day after day, crews answer call after call to put out a wildfire. Alabama’s Forestry Commission is battling the fires statewide. Volunteer firefighters are trying to help.

“Our smaller departments only have a limited amount of personnel on duty any way, so a 10-acre brush fire takes everyone that is on duty to put it out. It does not leave personnel to run other emergency calls,” said McAdory Area Fire District Chief Jeff Wyatt.

The McAdory Area Fire District has paid and volunteer firefighters. Wyatt has deployed the district’s utility-terrain-vehicle about a dozen times in the last month.

“It has been a life-saver for my territory out here. We use it to cover McAdory, Eastern Valley, any fire district or wherever the EMA needs us to go,” added Chief Wyatt.

UTVs are a hot commodity for firefighters especially when working during a drought like we are in now.

Homewood’s Fire Chief showed ABC 33/40 the special hoses, back-pack water supply and tools on his department’s UTV.

“It gets us to places where you can’t take a fire truck. If you’re in rough terrain, or in a wooded area, it’s a two and four-wheel drive vehicle to help you get in that terrain,” said Chief John Bresnan.

Terrain is also a challenge for Center Point firefighters, but their department can handle most wildfires.

“This right here is more mobile. It is also four-wheel drive, so it can go a lot of places the fire truck can’t go,” said Center Point Firefighter Brad Appleton.

Fire crews really do appreciate UTVs and brush trucks. They help keep crews from getting hurt while falling in holes, stumbling over debris and moving through dark areas.

Winters have started approaching the northern region of India that also includes Delhi-NCR along with Punjab and Haryana. Due to this, minimums have also started dropping in many parts of North India including Delhi and NCR. In fact, as per the temperatures recorded on October 15 and October 17, the minimums ofDelhi and NCR went down to 17°C.

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As per experts, an increase in the pollution level normally occurs during the winter months. However, there are a few reasons that could enhance the pollution level in Delhi and the adjoining areas. The very first reason that can be attributed to an increase in pollution level in the national capital is crop fires in the neighboring state ofHaryana andPunjab.

These two states lie in northwest proximity of Delhi and normal pattern of winds during this season is northwesterly. These winds drag the smoke and fine particles of the burnt crop and mix them with Delhi’s atmosphere. Moreover, the temperatures also start dipping, therefore, the air near the earth’s surface tends to condense leading to formation of haze.

Whenever the winds are light or calm, these air pollutants get mixed with the haze or mist and forms a blanket of smoke haze which remains suspended for few hours in the mornings. Thereafter, the haze disappears as the sun rises and temperatures increases during the day.


But as the winter progresses in the month of December and January, the duration of haze, mist or fog gets extended and these pollutants remain suspended in the atmosphere for longer duration of time. Other factors including the smoke emitting from vehicles and factories and dust from construction sites also add to the rising pollution levels.

Sometimes this situation can continue for day’s altogether. However, relief is expected only when a strong Western Disturbance gives rain over the region. It is then that these pollutants settle down for a few days.

Another criterion which reduces the pollution levels is the strong and moderate dry winds from northwest or west which carry away these pollution particles. In a nutshell, it can be said that in October, intensity and duration of pollution remain less though increases in November as winters sets in.

– See more at: http://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/delhis-pollution-level-increases-as-winter-approaches/#sthash.FRlJsEib.dpuf

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