Warning: No outside burning whatsoever

Published 7:33 pm Thursday, October 3, 2019

The ground is still dry in Lincoln County, as well as across the state, so burning anything is not a good idea.

Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey wants to make sure residents understand this applies to everyone in the area.

One week ago, Lincoln County supervisors issued a burn ban for the entire county for one month, as suggested by the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

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County Forester Steven Williams asked the board for the ban because he said conditions were serious.

“Right now, it’s to the point (where) I can’t guarantee you I can get a fire out. If the humidity drops and wind picks up, I’m going to have trouble containing a fire,” said Williams.

Gov. Phil Bryant issued a statewide ban Wednesday, proclaiming Mississippi to be in a state of emergency due to extremely dry conditions and fire danger. His proclamation prohibits “any outdoor burning in the state until such conditions improve and dangers abate.”

Galey said Thursday that fire departments have responded to about 10 fires already this week.

“There have already been two this morning — one in the city and one in the county,” he said.

He said fire fighters responded to three Wednesday night, as well.

Galey said it wasn’t that people were being defiant or didn’t care.

“Most of them don’t realize the burn ban is on,” he said.

When a fire is discovered or reported, fire fighters respond and extinguish the fire and tell the person responsible not to burn anything else. It’s mostly people burning limbs and such, Galey said, and it gets out of control due to low humidity, wind and dry grasses. Then it spreads quickly.

“The fire departments can get there quickly most of the time and we can protect structures, but we can’t fight it once it’s in the woods,” said Galey. “We depend on the Forestry Commission and they’ve been quick to respond.”

Galey stressed that once a fire is in trees, however, it is very difficult to contain and can spread very quickly.

At least one inch of rain county-wide is needed before the burn ban can be lifted.

The Mississippi Forestry Commission’s website specifies what is allowed and not allowed. Not allowed are campfires, bonfires, fire pits, fire rings, burn barrels, debris burning, field burning — anything with an open flame that produces an ember. Propane gas grills and heaters are allowed, however, as are charcoal grills. These must be used according to manufacturers’ instructions and never left unattended.

There are no exemptions for private citizen burning under the burn ban, MFC specifies.

“Remember, no outside burning whatsoever,” Galey said.