Due to the extended drought, MFC has requested equipment and personnel from other states to combat wildfires. The MFC has exceeded its current workforce capacity under lengthy drought conditions and assembled wildfire response resources under the South Central and Southeastern Wildland Fire Compacts, encompassing support from all the southern states. The compacts were already open due to wildfire activity in neighboring states.
The Florida Forest Service assembled engine and dozer strike teams to combat the wildfires in Mississippi. More help is expected in the coming days from equipment and personnel from other states, including Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and possibly other states. In addition to out-of-state resources, several local, state, and federal resources are utilized, including the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. National Park Service.
MFC State Forester Russell Bozeman said, “We are grateful for the out-of-state resources coming to Mississippi. We are continuing to see extreme drought-level conditions. Rain showers aren’t enough to saturate the ground and decrease wildfire risk. The agency has a shortage of wildland firefighters, so the current crews have been exhausted. Thankfully, our neighboring states have come in to offer help. Mississippi often sends resources to other states in need, and we appreciate the outpouring of support.”
Governor Tate Reeves also extended the burn ban proclamation. Currently, 45 counties in Mississippi are under a burn ban, of which 40 are under the partial state-level burn ban under the Governor’s proclamation. No outdoor burning of any kind is permitted under the Governor’s partial state-level burn ban. MFC continually monitors conditions and updates the list of counties under a burn ban. To view the list and for more information on burn bans, visit mfc.ms.gov/burn-bans.
Since August 1, MFC has responded to over 760 fires that have burned over 14,163 acres. The MFC has assembled its Incident Management Team (IMT) in strategic locations close to elevated fire activity areas. The out-of-state resources will be strategically stationed within these incident command centers. The IMT will also continue to utilize MFC personnel from across the state who perform various tasks related to incident response.
This activation of the MFC IMT is an important measure to ensure the safety and well-being of Mississippi residents during this period of heightened wildfire risk. By coordinating efforts and resources, the IMT aims to enhance the overall response capabilities and effectively manage the situation. Giachelli says, “We are working with the other states and planning to have the right number of resources in the most needed areas. The MFC team is working hard to protect our forest land, people, and structures.” The MFC has exhausted its resources, and we reached the trigger point to bring in additional help.”
Statistically, 9 out of 10 wildfires are human-caused. The MFC encourages caution around ignition sources, such as discarding cigarette buts and parking vehicles over dry grass. If you spot a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 911 and MFC Dispatch at 1-833-MFC-FIRE.