• 72°

Lincoln County not under a burn ban but should still use caution

It’s dry in Lincoln County, but officials are not recommending a burn ban just yet.

The Mississippi Forestry Commission has approved burn bans in 64 counties, at the request of those counties’ Boards of Supervisors.

“We don’t think we need to do that right now,” Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey said Monday.

Galey told the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors there has not been any reports of serious fires because of the dry conditions.

“Just a couple of little grass fires here and there,” he said.

Areas in Southwest Mississippi currently not under a burn ban include Lincoln, Franklin, Lawrence, Pike, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties.

The National Weather Service predicts a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday with a slight chance of it continuing into Thursday night. It’s expected to be clear and sunny through the weekend.

Even if it rains Thursday, Galey warned residents to use caution.

“I’d recommend a controlled situation,” he said. “Avoid outdoor burning if at all possible. It can get away real quick.”

Since Sept. 1, the state Forestry Commission has responded to and put out 453 wildfires that burned 4,141 acres. During this time, 767 homes, commercial structures and outbuildings were saved by MFC wildland firefighters, while 24 were destroyed or damaged, according to an MFC press release.

Autopsies questioned

Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris spoke to the board to answer questions concerning autopsies.

District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey asked McMorris about the number of autopsies performed for Lincoln County by the state and the criteria for requesting them.

McMorris said the coroner’s office has responded to 255 calls for the year and has requested 15 autopsies.

He said he is allowed by law to request an autopsy from the state if he cannot verify the cause of death, which he does before signing the death certificate.

McMorris said by law he must also request an autopsy on any child under the age of 2 years old who dies in Lincoln County.

County road funds meeting

County engineer Ryan Holmes requested the board attend a meeting in Hattiesburg Dec. 8 hosted by the Mississippi Association of Supervisors and the Mississippi Association of County Engineers, who are working to develop a plan to increase state aid and local county funding for roads.

Holmes told supervisors that budgeted state aid funds have been cut three times this year — for a total of $1.7 million — with each county losing a percentage of funds. Lincoln County lost 1.58 percent — $29,000 in January, $8,500 in April and $27,000 in October.

He encouraged the supervisors to attend the meeting. “We have lots of needs and less and less money,” he said.

Executive session called

The board went into executive session for almost an hour to discuss personnel and the purchase of property.

After returning from the closed-door meeting, the board voted 5-0 to hire Ann Reeves as a deputy clerk for the Lincoln County Justice Court.

Attorney Bob Allen said that the board, while in executive session, also discussed two potential purchases of property. No action was taken on that issue in the open meeting.

In other business, the Board of Supervisors:

• Approved the 2015-2016 final amended budget

• Approved travel to Jackson Nov. 17-18 for Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop

• Accepted a donation from Copiah-Lincoln Community College of a 14-foot-by-60-foot trailer currently located on Ability Works property. The trailer, which has been used in the past as a polling place, must be moved to a new location.