Drought continues fire threat
Despite a few isolated showers and storms, Mississippi is still experiencing a drought, making it more susceptible to wildfires.
Copiah and Lincoln Counties are among 43 under burn bans, including 40 covered by a proclamation signed by Governor Tate Reeves.
Since August 1, the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) has responded to 431 wildfires that burned over 8.700 acres statewide. The fires have burned intensely, with residual smoke and interior stump smoldering longer than expected. The most susceptible areas to wildfires are on the coast and some portions of central Mississippi.
MFC has set up an Incident Management Team (IMT) at Wiggins, Mississippi, to coordinate operations in cooperation with local, state and federal partners to pool resources focused on the most wildfire susceptible areas. While seeking to protect both land and structures, MFC is also urging the public to help.
“We urge everyone to be cautious and continue to follow burn ban guidelines,” says State Forester Russell Bozeman. “By coordinating efforts and resources, MFC and the IMT aim to enhance the overall response capabilities and effectively manage wildfires.”
Residents can help prevent wildfires with fire safety measures protecting their houses and landscapes:
Remove leaves, pine needles and other flammable materials from roofs, gutters and on and under decks to prevent ember ignitions.
Screen areas below decks and porches with 1/8-inch wire mesh to prevent material from accumulating.
Cover exterior attic and soffit vents with 1/8-inch mesh to prevent spark ignitions.
Enclose eaves to help prevent ember ignitions.
Inspect shingles or roof tiles, replace missing ones and cover ends of tiles with bird stops or cement to prevent ember ignitions.
Remove dead vegetation and other flammable materials within five feet of houses.
Keep lawn hydrated and maintained, and cut it if brown to reduce fire intensity.
Prune tree limbs so the lowest branches are six to 10 feet above ground to prevent fires from reaching into crowns of trees.
Move construction materials, trash and woodpiles at 30 feet from houses.
Dispose of branches, weeds, leaves, pine needles and grass clippings to reduce fuel for fires.