Use fire with caution

Published 2:12 pm Monday, June 26, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Fire is a valuable tool in the shaping of habitat, timber stands and encouraging needed forb growth for wildlife but it is best used in safe conditions. Mississippi Forestry Commission State Forester Russell Bozeman warns that fire should be used in a safe manner especially when burning storm debris. 

Hurricane season and summer thunderstorms can wreak havoc on properties but so could an out of control wildfire which started out as a well intended debris burn. Landowners and habitat managers can take a few steps to ensure they stay safe with fire. 

Check local ordinances to see if debris burning is permitted, check for burn bans and look at the local forecast. Do not burn on dry, windy days. People could dispose of debris in a landfill but if you do burn ensure you are not near structures or equipment. 

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If you do decide to burn, make sure you have wide control lanes with mineral soil to be burned. The larger the pile the wider the control lane needs to be. It is also helpful to have a water source near where you are burning. Never leave a fire or hot coals unattended. 

“The storms that recently came through Mississippi left a large amount of tree limbs and debris behind, Bozeman said. “Remember that 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans. If you choose to burn please do so responsibly. It only takes one spark or ember to start a wildfire.” 

Last year, Mississippi had 1,442 wildfires and 40,212 acres burned to fire. Area 42, which includes Lincoln County, had 194 wildfires with 3,851 acres burned. Lincoln County had 59 wildfires and 1,206 acres burned according to the Mississippi Forestry Commission.