DO NOT BURN!
There is a county-wide burn ban in effect indefinitely for Jefferson Davis County. The Sheriff’s Department will issue citations for those that don’t comply. These fines will range from $100-$500 each. According to Sheriff Ron Strickland, six citations have been issued thus far.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission has released the following statement: Please do not engage in any outdoor burning activities. Outdoor burning activities include: bonfires, fire pits, debris piles – any burning activity that produces an ember. A small spark can cause a large wildfire when conditions are dry and windy as they are at this time. Wind carries embers long distances, which can cause spot fires as far away as one-half mile from the burning area.
“With the current conditions, the Forestry Commission cannot guarantee public safety. Please adhere to the burn ban. We can plant new trees and build new homes, but we cannot replace people,” said Steven Williams of the Forestry Commission.
According to Williams, if a landowner allows a fire to leave his property, he will be charged a $300 an hour suppression charge. This fee is for backhoes and other equipment needed to extinguish the fire. If an airplane is needed, it will be charged at the rate of $600 per hour.
“Our firemen are exhausted, but when a call comes in they are ready to go again. They are truly hometown heroes,” said Bill Matthews of the Bassfield Volunteer Fire Department.
Four firemen have been injured, three with smoke inhalation and one with burns to his hand during these recent fires.
Most of the men and women that are called to these fires are volunteers. They leave the comfort of their homes and put themselves in danger for no pay. This could be prevented. Do not burn!