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Over 430 wildfires reported as Mississippi’s burn ban continues

Photo courtesy of MFC/Twitter

Nearly one month has passed since Mississippi officials called for a burn ban to be issued in 40 counties, with several more being added to the list over the last few weeks.

At this time, 45 counties located within the central to southern portions of the state are currently under a burn ban as dry conditions continue throughout Mississippi.

Since August 1, the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) has responded to over 431 wildfires that burned over 8,700 acres statewide.

According to the MFC, one wildfire in Harrison County burned 2,236 acres while another in Hancock County spread across over 2,000 acres near I-10 in late August.

The MFC has released that fires are burning intensely, leaving residual smoke and interior stump smoldering to last longer than expected.

At this time, the MFC estimates that the most susceptible areas to wildfire are currently on the coast and some areas in central Mississippi.

“Much of the state is experiencing severe drought conditions,” MFC State Forester Russell Bozeman stated. “Even our northern areas are seeing these drought conditions now.”

To effectively manage the situation, the MFC has mobilized an Incident Management Team (IMT) in Wiggins.

The collaboration of MFC employees, along with local, state, and federal partners, aims to enhance response capabilities and coordinate efforts to mitigate the risk of wildfires. The MFC IMT will remain deployed as long as necessary.

Under the partial state-level burn ban, all outdoor burning is strictly prohibited in the affected counties. Violators will face fines and be held accountable for any fire-related damages.

The MFC strongly discourages unnecessary outdoor burning in other parts of the state due to the prevailing drought conditions but has released that using gas, propane, pellet, and charcoal grills is permitted if proper safety precautions are followed.

“Wildfires occur in Mississippi more often than people realize,” Bozeman explained. “We want Mississippians to understand the danger and ensure they are prepared should a wildfire threaten their home.”

The National Fire Protection Association has provided the following safety tips to help residents protect their homes at this time:

  • 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, and cover ends of tiles with bird stops or cement to help prevent ember penetration during a wildfire
  • Remove dead vegetation and other flammable materials, especially within the first 5 feet of the home
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained
  • Prune tree limbs so the lowest branches are six 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 outbuildings
  • Dispose of branches, weeds, leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings that you have cut to reduce fuel for fire

Here’s the list of counties that are currently under a burn ban in Mississippi:

Photo courtesy of MFC/website

  • Adams
  • Amite
  • Attala (expires 10/1) – Mississippi Forestry Commission, certified burn managers, commercial contractors with heavy construction equipment, and agricultural field burns are exempt
  • Bolivar (expires 11/20)
  • Claiborne
  • Clarke
  • Copiah
  • Covington
  • Forrest
  • Franklin
  • George
  • Greene
  • Hancock
  • Harrison
  • Hinds
  • Humphreys (expires 9/25) – Mississippi Forestry Commission and agricultural field burns are exempt
  • Issaquena
  • Jackson
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson Davis
  • Jefferson
  • Jones
  • Lamar
  • Lauderdale
  • Lawrence
  • Lincoln
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Newton
  • Pearl River
  • Perry
  • Pike
  • Rankin
  • Scott
  • Sharkey
  • Simpson
  • Smith
  • Stone
  • Sunflower (expires 9/21) – Mississippi Forestry Commission, certified burn managers, county fire services, commercial contractors with heavy construction equipment, and agricultural field burns are exempt
  • Walthall
  • Warren
  • Washington (expires 9/30) – Mississippi Forestry Commission is exempt
  • Wayne
  • Wilkinson
  • Yazoo

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