The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) urges Mississippians to take necessary precautions and follow burn ban guidelines to prevent further wildfires. Despite a few isolated showers and storms, the state is still experiencing a drought, making it more susceptible to wildfires. With Labor Day approaching, it is crucial to be cautious and refrain from any unnecessary burning.
Governor Tate Reeves has signed a partial state-level burn ban proclamation to combat the increasing number of wildfires in Mississippi. The ban covers 40 MS counties, including the MFC regions 3 and 4. In addition, three other counties, including Humphreys, Oktibbeha, and Sunflower, are under burn bans. To check local burn bans in your counties, visit www.mfc.ms.gov.
Since August 1st, the MFC has responded to over 431 wildfires that burned over 8,700 acres statewide. The fires are burning intensely, with residual smoke and interior stump smoldering longer than expected. The most susceptible areas to wildfire are currently on the coast and some areas in Central MS.
The MFC’s Incident Management Team (IMT) is set up in Wiggins to coordinate operations. MFC team members are working with local, state, and federal partners to pool resources for the most susceptible areas to wildfire. The IMT is a proactive approach to managing resources efficiently and to be close to the most vulnerable regions to wildfire.
The MFC and its partners are doing everything they can to help protect both land and structures, but they are also urging the public to help. By working together, residents can make their property and their neighborhood much safer from wildfire.
“We urge everyone to be cautious during the holiday weekend and continue to follow the burn ban guidelines to prevent any further wildfires,” said Russell Bozeman, State Forester. “By coordinating efforts and resources, MFC and the IMT aim to enhance the overall response capabilities and effectively manage wildfires.”
The National Fire Protection Association provided some safety tips, including:
• REMOVE leaves, pine needles, and other flammable material from the roof, gutters, and on and under the deck to help prevent embers from igniting your home.
• SCREEN areas below decks and porches with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent material from accumulating underneath.
• COVER exterior attic and soffit vents with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent sparks from entering your home.
• ENCLOSE eaves to help prevent ember entry.
• INSPECT shingles or roof tiles. REPLACE missing shingles or tiles. COVER ends of tiles with bird stops or cement to help prevent ember penetration during a wildfire.
Tips for Landscaping Around Your Home:
• REMOVE dead vegetation and other flammable materials, especially within the first 5 feet of the home.
• KEEP your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to help reduce fire intensity.
• PRUNE tree limbs so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet above the ground to help reduce the chance of fire getting into the crowns of the trees.
• MOVE construction material, trash, and woodpiles at least 30 feet away from the home and other
• DISPOSE of branches, weeds, leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings that you have cut to reduce fuel for fire
Remember, something as simple as a debris burn that gets out of control or even a spark from a car or a trailer can cause a wildfire. Let’s work together to prevent any further damage. For more tips, visit www.firewise.org.