Drought causes several counties in Mississippi to declare burn bans

Drought causes several counties in Mississippi to declare burn bans

COPIAH COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Forestry Commission issued more burn bans Monday due to the extremely dry conditions. Twenty-five counties across the state are now affected.

The hot, dry conditions are also being blamed for fueling a wildfire in Copiah County over the weekend. Smoke and hot spots could still be seen near Hodges Road in Copiah County where the wild-fire broke out. Officials said the fire is under control, but it could’ve been a lot worse.

“For this magnitude, it is the first one in Copiah County,” said Randel Drane, Copiah County EMA Director.

“If we don’t get any more rain, significant rainfall in the state, we fully expect more counties to come on board with issuing burn bans,” said Miss. Forestry Commission’s Director of Information and Outreach Jason Scott.

Emergency teams say it took several fire crews to fight the wildfire that started Friday and reignited Sunday.

Officials with the Mississippi Forestry Commission say while the cause of the fire is still under investigation, they do know flames spread over 200 acres, doing some major damage.

“The fire was 225 acres, so to put it into terms that people can understand. Football field is about 1.3 acres, so you can say the fire is a little over 200 football fields in size,” said Scott.

With several counties across the state now under a burn ban, the emergency management team in Copiah County and forestry commission are warning people need to be cautious and don’t burn.

“In Mississippi, the most common causes for our wildfires are debris burning. It is people burning those brush piles, burning those debris piles in their backyards. With the conditions we’re seeing right now, someone throwing a cigarette out of a car window into the grass on the side of a road can cause a fire,” said Scott.

“Please be vigilant when you are out doing anything; don’t burn," added Drane. “Cook in a grill and let that be it. Don’t burn in a burn barrel. Any kind of burning our side is prohibited and you could be fined up to 500 dollars.”

For more information, visit the Mississippi Forestry Commission website.

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