JACKSON - At the request of the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC), Governor Phil Bryant issued a state burn ban -- effective immediately – all of the state’s 82 counties, including Coahoma County.
“Much of the state is experiencing significant drought conditions,” said MFC state forester Russell Bozeman. “Almost half of Mississippi’s 82 counties have implemented burn bans due to the extremely dry conditions.”
From September 1 – September 30, MFC wildland firefighters responded to and suppressed 239 wildfires that burned approximately 4,200 acres throughout the state. These fires have threatened hundreds of homes and buildings, destroying seven.
“With the current drought conditions and little rainfall in the forecast, we appreciate Gov. Bryant implementing this statewide burn ban in order protect the public,” Bozeman said. “The MFC will continue to monitor conditions and provide the public with updates on the burn ban as needed.”
Under a statewide burn ban, outdoor burning of any kind is prohibited. Persons caught violating a burn ban can be fined, as well as be held responsible for any damages caused from a fire.
Burn bans are normally requested by the County Board of Supervisors and approved by the Mississippi Forestry Commission.
Any person who knowingly and willfully violates a burning ban is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be fined not less than $100 and not more than $500. Burn bans are enforced by the local Sheriff's Department.
Not allowed: Campfires, bonfires, fire pits, fire rings, burn barrels, debris burning, field burning - anything with an open flame that produces an ember. The wind can carry floating embers away from the original fire and start a spot fire up to half a mile away from the burning area.
Allowed: Propane/ gas grills, propane/ gas heaters, and charcoal grills are allowed under burn bans. They should be used as described by their manufacturer’s instructions, located safely away from combustible materials and never left unattended. If they are not disposed of properly after use, charcoal grill briquettes are of great concern. After use, always let the coals cool completely and douse in water before disposing of them in a metal container. The residual ash should be cold to the touch before disposal.
To report a wildfire, call 911 or contact MFC’s Central Dispatch at 877-MFC-FIRE.