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Caution urged for Fourth holiday

Lincoln County’s burn ban will remainactive through July 4, and, officially, no concessions will be madefor fireworks.

    “We’re not going to change the burn ban to allow fireworks,” saidClifford Galey, Brookhaven-Lincoln County civil defense director.”But if you do use them you will be responsible for any negativeoutcomes.”

    Enforcement, though, will primarily focus on those that cause anynegative outcomes.

    “If someone were to utilize fireworks and there was a complaintthey would be asked to discontinue their use,” Galey said. “Ifsomeone were to use fireworks and started a fire they would beresponsible.”

    Anyone that started a fire would be held responsible for the costof extinguishing the fire and any damages that ensued.

    “I would advise people to be very careful,” said Lincoln CountySheriff Steve Rushing. “Don’t go out in an overgrown field to shootfireworks.”

    Ritchie Wilson operates a fireworks stand on Highway 84. He advisedonly shooting fireworks in a yard or field that has been closelymowed.

    “I will even take a hose and water down the yard,” Wilson said.

    Wilson’s business has been slow so far this year.

    Wilson has mostly sold sparklers, but anticipates that businesswill pick up as July 4 approaches. Wilson did not know whether theburn ban had affected his business much.

    “I’ll have to see how I do over the weekend,” Wilson said.

    In Copiah County, the board of supervisors has officially allowedfireworks despite the county’s burn ban. As in Lincoln, anyone thatcauses fire or damage will be held responsible for the cost.

    “We have asked all fireworks stands to notify their patrons so thatthey understand the risks,” said Copiah County Civil DefenseDirector Randle Drane.

    The decision to exempt fireworks from a burn is completely at thediscretion of individual counties, said Russell Bozeman, directorof forest protection and forest information for the MississippiForestry Commission.

    “Everyone has their own way of handling fireworks,” Bozeman said.”Some coastal counties are allowing fireworks, but only on thebeach.”

    Bozeman said that if an individual starts a wildfire and theForestry Commission has to extinguish, the commission charges asuppression fee. The amount of the suppression fee is the actualcost of extinguishing the fire.

    Lincoln County’s burn ban will expire on July 5. If there were aneed to continue the ban, the Lincoln County Board of Supervisorswould have to vote to do so when they meet on Tuesday.