In August, the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) approved 18 county-wide burn bans, effective immediately. Burn bans are voted on by County Boards of Supervisors and then approved by MFC. The agency approved seven burn bans in Region 3 for Covington, Jasper, Jones, Rankin, Simpson, Smith, and Wayne Counties. Eleven burn bans were approved for Region 4 in Adams, Amite, Franklin, Hancock, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pearl River, Pike, and Walthall Counties.
“Typically, wildfires pick up in Mississippi in September and October, but we are seeing earlier activity due to very dry, hot, and windy weather conditions,” said MFC State Forester Russell Bozeman.
The MFC approved the burn bans due to increased wildfire activity, elevated drought conditions, dry vegetation, and forecasted weather patterns. The current seven-day forecast does not predict significant rainfall large enough to pull the state out of the current drought.
“Since August 1st, MFC wildland firefighters have responded to more than 150 wildfire calls across the state that have burned nearly 3,500 acres,” Bozeman said. “Because of the lack of rainfall the state has seen over the past month, and the current forecast, the threat of wildfire is elevated across the state.”
A burn ban means no outdoor burning of any kind. Under state law, anyone caught burning during a burn ban may be fined up to $500. Individuals are also responsible for any damage caused by the flame or smoke from a fire they set. Even if your county is not under a burn ban, it is still essential to refrain from burning outdoors under the current weather conditions.
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