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Follow ban, refrain from outdoor burning

Now that Lincoln County is officially under a burn ban, it’s a good time to remind the public about the dangers of burning outdoors during a drought.

The ban is in effect until Nov. 21.

“There are no exceptions to the ban at this time,” said Clifford Galey, Lincoln County fire coordinator and emergency manager.

That means no one is allowed to burn outdoors. 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 sheriff’s department.

Earlier this month, Gov. Phil Bryant issued a partial state level ban that applied to 52 counties. The Mississippi Forestry Commission requested the partial state level burn ban due to the increase in wildfire occurrences, elevated drought conditions, dry vegetation and the forecasted weather patterns, according to the MFC.

The weather forecast does not predict enough rainfall to pull the state out of the current drought. These conditions have created an increased risk for devastating wildfires.

Just 14 counties in the state currently aren’t under a burn ban.

The MFC has responded to hundreds of fires since Sept. 1. During this time, 767 homes, commercial structures and outbuildings were saved by MFC firefighters, while 24 were destroyed or damaged, according to the department. Those numbers have likely increased since the notice was published.

Be smart when it comes to outdoor burning and obey the law. No outdoor fire is worth a $500 fine and the risk of destroying property.