Charges filed in relation to area fire

The Mississippi Forestry Commission has filed suppression charges in the Southwest District in the Monticello area for landowner carelessness or gross negligence. Details of the fire have not been released because the incident is still under investigation.

“Our Arson Fire Investigators are prepared to issue misdemeanor charges and suppression charges for this sort of negligent (careless) behavior,” said Meacham Harlow, MFC Public Information Officer. “Those fines can be very large if issued.” 0613 wildfirefacts williamson

Charges for suppression include any cost related to putting out a fire. If a fire is started on property and escapes, the fine is between $100 and $500. After investigation, if the person involved is charged with a felony of arson, and it can result in fines as well as jail time.

“Always keep your fire supervised and patrol your boundary lines for possible fire escapes,” said Harlow. “When people get careless, bad things can happen.”

In 2013, 20 homes were destroyed and four homes were damaged in Mississippi due to wildfires. The MCF fire crews, volunteer fire departments and other firefighting partners saved 1,384 homes.

Over the course of the year, 17,567 acres were burned in the state and 98.3 percent of these fires were caused by humans.

To report anyone who is involved in any arson wildfire, malicious or accidental, call 1-800-240-5161 or visit www.fc.ms.gov/law-enforcement.php.