Governor issues no-exemption burn ban for state

April 9th, 2020     Government & Politics

At the request and advice of the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC), Gov. Tate Reeves has signed a proclamation initiating a statewide burn ban, with no exemptions, effective immediately. The burn ban will remain in effect until further notice. “The COVID-19 pandemic has put significant strain on Mississippi’s Emergency Medical Services professionals, particularly the state’s rural volunteer fire departments,” said Russell Bozeman, MFC state forester. Since March 1, MFC wildland firefighters have responded to and suppressed 189 wildfires that have burned approximately 4,259 acres across the state where 303 structures were threatened and saved. Additionally, MFC wildland firefighters have been assisted by volunteer fire departments on 557 additional outdoor fires. “The current amount of wildfire is not normally a need for concern,” Bozeman said. “However, the smoke from these fires creates problems for anyone with respiratory issues and increases our firefighter’s chances of exposure when they respond.” Additionally, the State Fire Marshal’s Office has received numerous calls from city and rural fire departments across Mississippi requesting a statewide burn ban. Rural communities rely heavily on volunteer fire departments for EMS services. Fire response in rural communities, along with increased EMS response, has put additional strain on these city and rural fire departments. “This statewide burn ban will remove some fire response strain from city and rural volunteer fire departments, remove smoke from the air relieving those with respiratory issues, and allow our responders to focus more on EMS related services,” said Bozeman. Under a statewide burn ban, outdoor burning of any kind is prohibited. There are no exemptions for agricultural or prescribed burns under this burn ban. Persons caught violating a burn ban can be fined, as well as be held responsible for any smoke or fire damage. Burn bans are enforced locally by the county sheriff’s department To report a wildfire, call 911 or contact MFC’s Central Dispatch at 833-MFC-FIRE. For additional information, visit mfc.ms.gov and like and follow @MSForestryComm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. About the Mississippi Forestry Commission The mission of the Mississippi Forestry Commission is to provide active leadership in forest protection, forest management, forest inventory, and effective forest information distribution, necessary for Mississippi’s sustainable forest-based economy. Established in 1926, the Mississippi Forestry Commission protects the state’s valuable 19.2 million acres of forestland from wildfire, manages approximately 480,000 acres of forested School Trust Land and delivers quality forest management services and assistance to both rural and urban landowners.

A burn ban means no outdoor burning of ANY KIND.

Burn bans are normally requested by the County Board of Supervisors and approved by the Mississippi Forestry Commission.  All burn bans expire at midnight on the stated date of expiration. Any person who knowingly and willfully violates a burning ban is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be fined not less than $100 and not more than $500.  Section 49-19-351 of MS Code of 1972, as amended. Burn bans are enforced by the local Sheriff’s Department.

Not allowed: Campfires, bonfires, fire pits, fire rings, burn barrels, debris burning, field burning – anything with an open flame that produces an ember. The wind can carry floating embers away from the original fire and start a spot fire up to one-half mile away from the burning area.

Allowed: Propane/ gas grills, propane/ gas heaters, and charcoal grills are allowed under burn bans. They should be used as described by their manufacturer’s instructions, located safely away from combustible materials, and never left unattended. If they are not disposed of properly after use, charcoal grill briquettes are of great concern. After use, always let the coals cool completely and douse in water before disposing of them in a metal container. The residual ash should be cold to the touch before disposal

Types of Exemptions:

  1. No exemptions from this burn ban
  2. Mississippi Forestry Commission
  3. Certified Burn Managers
  4. County Fire Services
  5. Commercial contractors with heavy construction equipment, providing that said burn meets Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) regulations. MDEQ’s open burning regulations can be found on their website,
  6. Agricultural field burn
  7. Other

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