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Forestry Commission Warns of Increased Fall Wildfire Risk

As the weather transitions from summer to fall, dry vegetation and lower humidity have the potential to increase wildfire activity statewide.

Since June 1, 2016, the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) has responded to and suppressed 259 wildfires that burned 2,363 acres in the state of Mississippi. MFC wildland firefighters were able to save 348 structures from being damaged or destroyed. During the 2015 fall wildfire season, MFC wildland firefighters responded to and suppressed 1,195 wildfires that burned 14,144 acres. As a result, Governor Bryant enacted the first Statewide Burn Ban issued in Mississippi since 2010.

“We would like to ask the public to exercise caution with any outdoor recreational burning, such as campfires and outdoor grills this fall. Wildfires can start with just a spark and spread quickly to endanger forestland, personal property, and lives” said Charlie Morgan, State Forester. “Please do your part to help prevent wildfires by observing local burn bans and exercising proper fire safety.”

To see a complete list of burn bans in Mississippi, please click here. Burn bans are subject to change at any time. Please check our website frequently to stay up-to- date on any new burn bans that are issued.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is 500 – 700 in most areas of the state. The KBDI measures the water content of the soil and duff layers, the scale ranges from 0 – 800 with 800 meaning there is no soil moisture available for vegetation. The index increases for each day an area does not experience rain. High values on the KBDI means that the area is experiencing a severe drought and conditions are favorable for an increase in wildfire activity. In order to view a current KBDI map, visit:

Wildfire prevention tips:

  • Find out if there is a burn ban in effect for your area before burning. For a complete list of burn bans, click here.
  • Check the local weather forecast – do not burn on dry, windy days. Wind carries embers long distances, which can cause spot fires as far away as one-half mile from the burning area.
  • Choose a safe burn site for outdoor recreational burning – keep campfires small, only burn untreated wood debris (waste, plastic, rubber tires, and other manufactured products may not be burned), and keep a garden hose or source of water easily accessible. To view the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality standards regarding outdoor burning, visit the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s page on Open Burning.
  • The same preventive measures apply when using charcoal grills. When you are finished using a charcoal grill, always let the coals cool completely and douse in water before disposing of them in a metal container. Never leave a grill unattended.
  • To report a wildfire, dial 911 or call the Central Dispatch Center for your area, click here.

Nationwide, nine out of ten wildfires are caused by people and could have been prevented with proper care. Please do your part to help prevent wildfire activity by checking burn bans and weather conditions before doing any recreational outdoor burning.


Mississippi Forestry Commission Website –
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Map of the Keetch-Byram Drought Index dated 27 September, 2016
Photo credit:
A white pickup truck driving down a dirt road while the trees and ground to the right are on fire