Fire danger increases Monday, drought continues

Published 11:09 am Monday, September 11, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Wildfire danger increases Monday in Lincoln County and the surrounding area. Dry conditions, wind and low humidity makes the risk of wildfires greater.

Lincoln County remains under a burn ban as do 44 other counties in Mississippi. There is a minor chance of rain for the area this week with the greatest chance being Wednesday. A 30 percent chance of rain Wednesday drops down to 20 percent chance of rain Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Reid said the burn ban remains in effect for Lincoln County until the governor or state forester lift it. It would take signifcant rainfall for the burn ban to be lifted.

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“It would take several days of rain for them to deem it safe to burn again. We are talking about substantial rain not the afternoon showers some parts of the county are getting,” Reid said. “The foresters recommend that crews and people hold off on bush hogging. If a blade hit a rock it could cause a spark and easily start a fire.”

There are no exceptions to the burn ban. Reid asks people to be careful. NWS Jackson advises people to dispose of cigarette butts properly and to not allow trailer chains to drag along the roadway. Several grass fires in the state have started from chains along the roadways.

Nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans and right now one spark is enough to start a fire. Lincoln County has been spared thus far of any major wildfires like the ones seen in Southwest Louisiana.

“We have had a few smaller fires but we have been very blessed so far,” Reid said. “Please be very careful and remember no outside burning.”

Extreme drought

It could take a great deal of rain to bring the area out of a drought. Lincoln, Franklin, Pike, Copiah, Jefferson, Amite, Walthall and Lawerence Counties are all in extreme droughts according to the US Drought Monitor.

This month, Lincoln County has received 0.07 inches of rain which is a full inch below the average. It is unlikely the dry conditions will change any time soon. NWS Jackson’s 8 to 14 day outlook for precipitation shows Mississippi has a 33 to 40 percent chance of below normal precipitation levels.

At least the area is not close to setting the record for consecutive dry days. In 1924, the Jackson forecast area went 73 days without rainfall until precipitation finally came Dec. 4, 1924. A 51 day dry spell in 1952 is second place in the Jackson area climate record.