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Food plot preparation: use fire responsibly

Fire is a useful tool when it comes to removing unwanted vegetation from a piece of land. However, fire is also one of the most destructive and uncontrollable forces on the planet. Even with extensive training, fire is difficult to contain and suppress once it reaches wildfire status.

Last year, people burning off food plots in preparation for deer season started wildfires in several areas of the state. While fire is a useful tool, it should be respected and used responsibly.

Russell Bozeman, MFC state forester

As hunters across the state begin preparing food plots for deer season, the MFC is reminding everyone to be cautious and responsible when using fire.

The MFC offers these tips to help you stay safe when using fire.

  • Pay attention to your local weather forecast, do not burn on windy days.
  • Check for local or statewide burn bans.
  • Construct a fire lane around your burn area.
  • Have a water source on hand, should the fire grow too large.
  • Make sure to have enough people to keep the fire contained.
  • Wear the appropriate protective equipment.
  • Remember, safety begins with preparation.

“When a person starts a fire, they are responsible, under Mississippi law, for any damages caused by the flame or smoke from that fire,” Bozeman said. “Nearly nine out of 10 wildfires are human-caused and completely preventable.”

The MFC encourages Mississippians to use other, safer alternatives to preparing food plots if there is low confidence fire can be used safely.

“If there is low confidence that fire can be used safely, the MFC encourages hunters to use more traditional methods, such as disking, to prepare their food plots,” Bozeman said. “Smokey Bear’s words, ‘Only you can prevent wildfires,’ are what people need to remember before starting a fire.”

Click here for more information about wildfire prevention or like and follow @MSForestryComm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.