Burn bans remain as hunting season begins

From Press & Staff Reports

Deer hunting season (gun with dog) began Saturday in most parts of Mississippi.

People are out in the woods and may be looking for ways to keep warm. The Mississippi Forestry Commission reminds hunters that they should not use a wood-burning campfire, bonfire, fire pit, fire ring, burn barrel — anything with an open flame that produces an ember.

“Don’t do any outdoor burning right now — wait until burn bans are lifted, and drought conditions improve. A small spark can become a large wildfire when conditions are dry and windy, as they will be this weekend,” said Russell Bozeman, assistant state forester. “One less spark could mean one less wildfire. No campfire is worth putting people’s lives at risk.”

In Mississippi, 77 out of 82 counties remain under burn bans. The governor’s partial state-level ban and all individual county bans were to remain in effect at least through the weekend, according to a Nov. 17 MFC release. Areas experiencing drought conditions need consecutive days of steady, appreciable rainfall to provide enough relief from the drought to declare it safe to lift any burn bans.

Since Sept. 1, the MFC responded to and suppressed 946 wildfires that burned 8,467 acres. During this time, 1,420 structures were threatened by wildfire activity and saved by MFC wildland firefighters. Fifty-eight structures were damaged or destroyed.

A burn ban means no outdoor burning of any kind.

Not Allowed: Campfires, bonfires, fire pits, fire rings, burn barrels, debris burning, fireworks, field burning, cigarette ash, outdoor wood-burning heaters, outdoor wood-burning fireplaces — anything with an open flame that produces an ember. The wind can carry floating embers away from the original fire and start a new spot fire up to one-half mile away from the burning area.

Gov. Phil Bryant issued a partial state level burn ban on Oct. 11 for 52 counties, including Webster. Those counties have no exemptions and will be in effect until lifted by the governor. An additional 25 counties are under burn bans issued by their county board of supervisors and approved by the MFC.

Any person who knowingly and willfully violates a burning ban is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be fined up to $500. If a fire escapes and burns or damages the land/property of another, the person that set the fire is liable for those damages. The Eupora Police Department’s report for October shows it issued one warning for violation of the burn ban that month.