Columbiana, Wilsonville Fire Departments respond to fires in south Shelby County

Firefighters from the Columbiana Fire Department, the Wilsonville Fire Department and the Kingdom Volunteer Fire Department were called in to help the Shelby Fire Department with fires at two separate locations near Shelby County 47 in south Shelby County on Nov. 22.

“When firefighters first arrived on the scene, they noticed that there were multiple fires at different locations,” Columbiana Assistant Fire Chief Brett Ashworth said.

Columbiana firefighter Grady Gentry said that he was dispatched for one of the fires, which was located off of Shelby County 42 and south of Shelby County 47 and took place on private property. The Columbiana Fire Department was called at 12:36 p.m. This fire was contained within 40 minutes.

At about the same time, firefighters were called for a fire that took place off of Shelby County 47, south of Alabama 145. It took six hours for firefighters to contain the second fire. This fire was also located on private property. Gentry said that arson is suspected as the cause of the fire.

According to Ashworth, both fires occurred within five miles of each other. It is currently unknown whether the two fires were related.

While there is still no known cause for either of the fires, Ashworth said he believes that the widespread drought in Alabama had something to do with it.

“The condition of the underbrush contributed to the speed that the fire spread and the fire initially starting,” Ashworth said. “Had it not been for the drought, this probably would have never happened.”

Ashworth also said that it is important to be responsible and alert in order to avoid starting fires, especially during the current weather conditions.

“We’re still in the drought and the burn ban is still in effect. We want to encourage people to be vigilant to any type of spark or ember. A spark from even something as small as something dragging off of a vehicle, like a tow strap or a chain, can set a fire like we saw yesterday,” Ashworth said.

According to Ashworth, both fires are currently under investigation by the Alabama Forestry Commission. No injuries or deaths were reported. There was also no reported damage to any structures or buildings.