‘Wildfire Prevention Month’ begins with governor’s proclamation

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Photo courtesy of MFC

We’ve officially entered the busiest month of the year for wildfires. 

As the calendar turns to March, ‘Wildfire Prevention Month’ begins following a proclamation from Governor Tate Reeves. According to the Mississippi Forestry Commission, March has one of the highest wildfire occurrence rates of the year due to the transition from winter to spring, dry vegetation and windy conditions.

In March 2020, the MFC responded to and suppressed 133 wildfires that burned approximately 3,500 acres. MFC Wildland Firefighters saved 96 homes, commercial buildings and other structures. Wildfires damaged or destroyed three homes, commercial buildings and other structures.

“Nationally, nine out of 10 wildfires are human-caused, which means nine out of 10 wildfires could have been prevented,” Russell Bozeman, MFC state forester, said. “Wildfire Prevention Month allows us to highlight the responsibility of Mississippians to help protect forests, their homes and, ultimately, their lives by focusing on how to prevent wildfires.”

To help prevent wildfires, the MFC offers these tips:

  • Check local ordinances. Outdoor burning may be prohibited in your area.
  • Check for local or statewide burn bans.
  • Check the local weather forecast. Do not burn on dry, windy days.
  • Choose a safe burn site, away from flammable materials. The ground around your burn site should be surrounded by bare dirt or gravel.
  • Only burn untreated wood debris. Plastic, rubber tires or other manufactured materials may not be burned.
  • Always have a water source close by.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.

“Mississippi’s 19.2 million acres of forestland are vital to the health and well-being of the state,” Bozeman said. “The MFC thanks Gov. Reeves for his proclamation, and we ask all Mississippians to be responsible when using fire on their property. Remember, only YOU can prevent wildfires.”

To report a wildfire, call 833-MFC-Fire. If you suspect someone of violating local burn bans or burning prohibited items, contact local law enforcement.

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