MS Forestry Commission urges caution when burning storm debris

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Many Mississippians use fire as a means of getting rid of yard debris, especially after storms. However, the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) said if debris burning is not carried out responsibly and with the proper precautions in place, burn piles can quickly become wildfires.

“We understand that burning leaves and sticks is a common way of cleaning up your yard,” said Russell Bozeman, MFC state forester. “However, if you decide to burn your yard and storm debris, there are certain precautions that should be taken.”

The MFC is urging Mississippians to use extreme caution when burning debris from the April storms, as well as any other yard debris. Here are some important things to consider before burning.

  • Check local ordinances to see if burning is permitted in your city.
  • Check the MFC website for countywide or statewide burn bans.
  • Check your local forecast. Don’t burn on dry, windy days.
  • Check for alternative ways to dispose of trash, such as a landfill.

If you do decide to burn, here are some tips to ensure your fire doesn’t become a wildfire.

  • Burn site should be cleared and down to the bare soil.
  • Have a water source close by your fire. 
  • Have adequate assistance, depending on the size of the burn pile.
  • Never leave fire or hot coals unattended.
  • Make sure fire is completely extinguished and coals are cool to the touch before leaving burn site.

“The storms that tore through Mississippi in April left large amounts of vegetative debris in their wake,” Bozeman said. “We encourage Mississippians to find alternative ways to dispose of this debris. If you choose to burn, please do so responsibly. It only takes one spark or ember to start a wildfire.”

For more wildfire prevention tips, visit www.mfc.ms.gov.

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