SuperTalk Mississippi

Forestry Commission warns of uptick in wildfires

Photo courtesy of the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

The Mississippi Forestry Commission is working to stop wildfires at the starting line. Wildfires occur year-round in Mississippi and in 2017, the MFC responded to and suppressed 2,318 wildfires that burned 33,574 acres.

As dry cold fronts begin to move through Mississippi this fall, the MFC warns of the importance to be aware of the potential for increased wildfire activity.

Last year, the majority of wildfires in Mississippi were caused by people burning debris that escaped control. A small spark can start a large wildfire when conditions are dry and windy.

“Nationwide, nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires are human-caused, which means 9 out of 10 wildfires could have been prevented with proper care,” said Charlie Morgan, State Forester, Mississippi Forestry Commission. “Sadly, debris burns that escaped control were the number one cause of wildfires in Mississippi last year.”

Morgan added that individuals should check the local weather forecast, and they should not burn on dry, windy days as the wind carries embers long distances, causing new spot fires as far away as one-half mile from the burning area.

Wildfires are known to move at speeds of up to 14 miles per hour – quickly endangering lives, homes, and natural resources. The best way to prevent devastating wildfire occurrences is to never1 let one start.

To report a wildfire in the state of Mississippi, call 1-833-MFC-FIRE (1-833-632-3473). The statewide wildfire reporting number allows people to quickly request emergency wildfire assistance from the Mississippi Forestry Commission, which will dispatch the necessary wildfire suppression resources to the appropriate location.

“Having one easy-to-remember phone number streamlines the wildfire reporting process for the public and our emergency management partners,” said Randy Giachelli, Fire Chief, Mississippi Forestry Commission. “The same number can also be used to obtain a burning permit anywhere in Mississippi.”

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