Homochitto National Forest had naturally sparked fire last week

Published 12:01 pm Thursday, May 16, 2024

MEADVILLE — Long before native americans burned the landscape, lighting was the key to the southeastern US Ecosystem’s disturbance pattern. While lightning strike fires make up a small percentage of wildfires in Mississippi, they can still occur. 

The United States Forest Service contained a wildfire sparked by lightning last Friday. Homochitto National Forest Ranger Shaun Williamson said the fire was started by lightning strike and crews made a 100 acre containment area for the fire just in case. 

According to the Mississippi Forestry Commission, 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by human error and thus preventable. The wildfire on the Homochitto National Forest in Franklin County was 1 out of 10 wildfires caused naturally. 

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The United States Forest Service works to bring back fire to the native ecosystem by conducting controlled prescribed burns throughout the year. Nearly 220,000 acres of National Forest in Mississippi must be burned each year to meet objectives. 

Homochitto National Forest is a Upland Longleaf Pine Woodland system and needs fire to maintain its quality and meet management objectives. Turkeys and deer are two game species who benefit from management of the Homochitto National Forest but Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers also benefit.