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Tuscaloosa grass fire contained

TUSCALOOSA (AP) — Seven firetrucks pumping water on a grass fire at a Tuscaloosa industrial site kept the blaze from spreading to nearby businesses.

No injuries were reported from the fire, which started in grass near railroad tracks Monday afternoon and spread to rubber-coated pipes, said Lt. Travis Parker of the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service.

Fire officials said Monday the fire was started by sparks from a train engine.

The firefighters kept the blaze from reaching businesses in the area, including Montgomery Woodworks, Isbell Insulation, Paint Pros of Alabama and Supreme Beverage Co.

Several trucks responded because of the increased possibility of serious damage due to the drought.

"For the most part, people are being extra cautious this summer because they know the drought is so serious," Parker said.

State forestry officials said drought was a factor in the 600-acre wildfire in Ragland on a pine plantation last week.

"In a normal year, that would have been about a 20-acre fire," said Louis Hyman, assistant director for the Alabama Forestry Commission's fire division.

Commission officials say that about 1,300 of some 3,000 wildfires reported in Alabama this year were deliberately set.

A Theodore man was arrested Sunday on charges accusing him of setting a small fire in woods on Todd Acres Road. Tommie Lee Woodard, 50, was charged with reckless endangerment and burning without a permit, according to Mobile County jail records.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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