March is Mississippi Wildfire Prevention Month
In late February, Gov. Tate Reeves issued a proclamation naming March as “Wildfire Prevention Month” in Mississippi.
Over the last decade, March has one of the highest wildfire occurrence rates of the year due to the transition from winter to spring, dry vegetation and windy days. In fact, the first two days of March this year saw more than 25 wildfires that burned over 2,220 acres across the state.
“Human error and carelessness is the primary cause of wildfires in Mississippi,” said Russell Bozeman, Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) state forester. “When using fire, we ask that people burn responsibly and take the proper precautions to prevent the fire from becoming a wildfire.”
Whether it’s not burning on windy days or choosing a safe burn site, Mississippians can help reduce the chance of wildfire by taking care when burning outdoors. For tips on how you can help prevent wildfires, visit PreventWildfiresMS.com.
There is also another tool available to the MFC and landowners to help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires – prescribed fire.
Prescribed fire, also known as a controlled burn, refers to the controlled application of fire by a team of fire experts under specified weather conditions that helps restore health to fire-adaptive environments.
“Prescribed fire is one of the most effective forest management tools the MFC has,” Bozeman said. “Additionally, prescribed fire, when properly applied to a landscape, can significantly reduce the chance of catastrophic wildfires.”
“Wildfire prevention requires a multifaceted approach, and it takes everyone working together.”
Prescribed fire safely reduces excessive amounts of brush, shrubs and trees from the understory. By having a prescribed fire plan for their property, landowners continuously reduce the amount of fuel available should a wildfire start. Less fuel means less chance of a wildfire reaching a catastrophic level.
“Wildfire prevention requires a multifaceted approach, and it takes everyone working together,” said Bozeman. “The MFC uses prescribed fire as a way to help reduce the chance of large scale wildfires, but we also ask the public to use extreme caution when burning outside.”
Read more about Prescribed Fire.
To contact our office of Public Outreach, please call (601) 359-2795.