Alabama faces fire season with fewer hands on deck

Rural fire chiefs in Alabama are beginning to worry about the fall wildfire season, but it's economic–not environmental–concerns that are at the forefront. The Alabama Forestry Commission has eliminated 75 employees this year as it struggles to make up for a $5 million reduction in its annual budget. With fewer Forestry Commission employees, volunteer fire departments will be called on to fight more woods and grass fires this fall. State Forester Linda Casey said Alabama's rural areas are not going to be left unprotected. "We've eliminated numerous positions here at our state headquarters to keep as many people in the field as possible," Casey said. "All 67 counties in Alabama still have fire coverage."