Mississippi Wildfire Prevention Month
Publish Date: July 28, 2023
Estimated Time: 2 min read
In March of 2021, Mississippi Governor, Tate Reeves, proclaimed March as Wildfire Prevention Month for his state. This declaration is an effort to bring attention to the ongoing issue of wildfires across the state of Mississippi.
What Causes Wildfires?
Humans cause 90% of all forest fires in the United States. As startling of a statistic as this is, it means almost all wildfires are preventable. It’s easy to be careless when you don’t think of all the innocent people and ecosystems that a wildfire will likely affect. However, forest fires have long-term effects and may affect someone you care about.
How to Prevent Wildfires
Wildfires are a major threat to forests and communities. They can cause widespread damage, loss of life, and economic hardship. However, wildfires are almost always preventable. By following certain protocols, rules, and regulations, we can help to keep our communities safe.
Obey Burn Bans and Restrictions
Local jurisdictions have resources to let you know when it’s safe to burn. Sometimes the conditions aren’t suitable for any type of outdoor fire. For example, if you are currently in a drought or if it’s been dry and windy.
You can follow this link to see if there is a burn ban in your county: https://www.mfc.ms.gov/burning-info/burn-bans/#:~:text=There%20are%20no%20current%20burn%20bans.
Keep Your Fire a Manageable Size
No matter the size of your fire, always have the means to control it and put it out. In other words, never let your fire get to the point where you have doubts about being able to control it with the resources you have on hand.
Clear the Ground of Dry Debris
Clear a circle around where you plan to burn with a radius coming no closer than 10 feet from the fire. This will prevent the accidental spread of your burn and give you more control over the fire.
Never Leave Your Fire Unattended
Wildfires are just that — wild. Even small campfires can easily get out of control in a matter of minutes or even seconds. For that reason, you should never turn your back on any fire. If you know you are going to be out of sight of the fire, even for a short time, extinguish it and don’t leave until the coals are cold.
Don’t Drive Any Vehicles in Dry Grass
Several components on vehicles exceed the temperature dry grass needs to combust. Once a fire starts in a dry grass field, it can quickly become unmanageable, so avoid driving on dry grass that is more than a few inches high.
Use Good Judgment
Just because there aren’t any burn bans or restrictions in your area, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe to proceed with starting a fire. These bans don’t take into account every hilltop or valley, it’s more of a general recommendation. If you think it might be too windy or dry to burn safely, don’t.
Also, be especially cautious if you plan on burning within a couple of miles of a major road. All it takes is a single ember to start a wildfire, and with the right wind conditions, the smoke could create a blinding screen that could cause serious accidents.
Have a Way to Call Emergency Services
If you follow these rules and still somehow manage to let your fire get out of control, you need to call emergency services as soon as possible to minimize the damage you will cause.