Supervisors defer decision to extend burn ban

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, November 21, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Lincoln County Supervisors decided to defer a request to extend the burn ban in Lincoln County. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves lifted the burn ban in Lincoln County citing much needed rainfall alleviating the threat. 

Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Reid said they had several fires in the county over the weekend as people are itching to burn limbs, trash and leaves. Lincoln County had the option to put the burn ban back in place during Monday’s regularly scheduled board meeting. 

Storms are expected to move into the region tonight and bring much needed rainfall to the area. District Five Supervisor Doug Falvey said he did not think they needed to implement the burn ban again at this time. Reid said that was fine and they could wait until after this week to see where they are.

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“We need to continue to urge caution,” Reid said.

While the burn ban is not in place there is still an element of fire danger. Fires could spread quickly and out of control with gusty winds and dry fuel loads. Mississippi Forestry Commission’s busiest time of the year for fire is from October to April. 

To exercise caution while burning it is best to establish wide control lines down to bare mineral soil around brush piles to be burned. The larger the debris pile, the wider the control line that is needed to ensure that burning materials won’t be blown or rolled off the pile and into vegetation outside the line.

– Remove flammable materials within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds.

– The burn site should be cleared and down to the bare soil.

– Have a water source close to your fire.

– Have adequate assistance, depending on the size of the burn pile.

– Never leave fire or hot coals unattended.

– Make sure the fire is completely extinguished and coals are cool to the touch before leaving the burn site

Lincoln County Forester Steven Williams said the rain the area got last week is not enough to improve the dry conditions and lessen wildfire danger. The National Weather Service issued a report on drought conditions showing the area is still under Exceptional Drought. 

A majority of Lincoln County got an inch of rain over the last 30 days but southeast Lincoln County has had 0.15 inches to 0.50 inches. Southwest Mississippi is still classified as having Above Normal potential for severe wildland fire outbreaks. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index for the region is between 600 to 800. Drought conditions are forecast to persist through November but should improve over the winter. 

“Things aren’t any better. Soil moisture is key. If we go two weeks with no rain we will be in the same boat. We need rain weekly,” Williams said. “We had a 400 acre fire on Bronze. Trace road was 347 acres, Railroad fire at Heucks Retreat was 277 acres. I’m supposed to have five dozers but I only have four. Technically, I have only three because one of them was sent to Columbia. One dozer is in Jeff Davis County, one is in Lawrence and one is here. Multiple fires could be dangerous.”