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Tornado debris fuels fire in Alabama

By Joe Sutton, CNN
updated 5:57 AM EDT, Wed March 21, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Brookwood, Alabama, gets double whammy in less than a year
  • 100 acres burning in the tornado debris field says Forestry Commission spokeswoman
  • Dry weather, low humidity and gusty winds making firefighters' job more difficult

(CNN) -- Less than a year after a tornado swept through central Alabama, killing scores of people, a debris field created by that tornado caught fire Tuesday, threatening more than a dozen houses in the town of Brookwood, an official said.

"It is currently burning 100 acres in the tornado debris field," Alabama Forestry Commission Spokeswoman Coleen Vansant told CNN.

The field was created April 27, when the powerful EF-4 tornado killed 64 people in Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties and flattened a number of houses.

Tornadoes took terrible toll almost a year ago

On Monday, firefighters contained a pile of burning debris that had spread, but it jumped the containment line on Tuesday in Brookwood, which has 1,483 residents and is about 17 miles east of Tuscaloosa. The fire then spread into a field of debris left by the tornado, threatening at least 20 houses, Vansant said.

Among them were some that had been rebuilt after the tornado, she said.

Dry weather, low humidity and gusty winds made the firefighters' job more difficult, she said.

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