Skip to main content

MFC Urges Caution Burning Storm Debris 

June 21st marked the first day of summer. MFC wants you to be weather aware and prepared- especially as we approach the hottest part of the year. We are seeing several active storms less than three weeks after hurricane season began on June 1st.

A “burn pile” is commonly used on many individual properties. Many Mississippians use fire to get rid of yard debris, especially after spring and summer storms. However, if debris burning is not carried out responsibly and with the proper precautions, burn piles can quickly become wildfires.

“We understand that choosing to clean up storm debris and burning them in a pile is a common way of cleaning up your yard,” said Russell Bozeman, Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) state forester. “However, if you decide to burn storm debris, you should take proper precautions.”

Here are some important things to consider before burning:

– Check local ordinances to see if debris burning is permitted in your city or county.

– Check the MFC website for countywide or statewide burn bans.

– Check your local forecast. Don’t burn on dry, windy days.

– Check for alternative ways to dispose of debris, such as a landfill.

– Never burn near structures or equipment. It is always a good idea to be fire-wise and remove flammable materials within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds.

– Be mindful of burning in dry conditions. Dead and dry vegetation will carry a fire. Think about burning debris piles after rain during the green season.

If you decide to burn, here are some tips to ensure your fire doesn’t become a wildfire.

– Before any burning, establish wide control lines down to bare mineral soil around brush piles to be burned. The larger the debris pile, the wider the control line needed to ensure that burning materials won’t be blown or rolled off the pile and into vegetation outside the line.

– Remove flammable materials within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds.

– The burn site should be cleared and down to the bare soil.

– Have a water source close to your fire.

– Have adequate assistance, depending on the size of the burn pile.

– Never leave fire or hot coals unattended.

– Make sure the fire is completely extinguished and coals are cool to the touch before leaving the burn site

Your area may have burning restrictions, so contact your local fire department for more information and debris-burning tips.

MFC works hard to empower community leaders and homeowners with various programs designed to heighten the awareness of our mission, services, and the importance of forest resources.  One of the important ways we contribute is to educate the public on fire prevention. 

“The storms that recently came through Mississippi left many tree limbs and debris behind,” Bozeman said. “Remember, that 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans. If you choose to burn, please do so responsibly. It only takes one spark or ember to start a wildfire.”