PEARL, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) warned Mississippians that the risk for fire danger will be elevated this weekend due to the combination of low humidity, gusty winds, and dry ground conditions.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for much of central and south Mississippi, where there is an increased chance of wildfires to spread rapidly.

Parts of the state saw some rain recently, but most areas had less than one-inch of precipitation. However, this is not enough to bring the state through the drought situation. The MFC is urging the public to adhere to burn bans and avoid activities that promote sparks or flames near dried vegetation.

“The drought index continues to be extremely high right now. It will take more than 7 inches of rain to saturate the ground enough to eliminate the increased chances of wildfire activity,” said Randy Giachelli, MFC Fire Chief.

The MFC continues to station the Incident Management Team (IMT) in strategic parts of the state, along with out-of-state resources to fight wildfires. In addition, the MFC is working with partners like the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), USDA Forest Service, Volunteer Fire Programs, and others to coordinate efforts.