GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport firefighters on Monday were still watching the site of a woods fire off Cowan Lorraine Road that broke out over the weekend. The hot spots are under control, but with a statewide burn ban in effect, firefighters must remain on alert.
"A lot of time in woods fires what will happen is you have a lot of debris that still has some hot places in it, like tree bark," Gulfport Fire Chief William Bragg explained. "To get to all the hot spots, you'd have to physically go in there and take the bark off the tree."
Chief Bragg said the smoke still coming from the wooded area east of Cowan Lorraine Road is not cause for alarm.
"If there's no danger in it re-igniting or starting anything else, a lot of times they'll just let it burn."
Bragg said brush fires are common, but they normally happen outside city limits in the county area where there are more wooded areas. The potential danger from a fire, like the one Saturday, is why the state is under a mandatory burn ban.
"The area is so dry, we've had so little rain over the past month, any little spark that gets into pine mulch, dried leaves, whatever, can take and start a significant wildfire," said Bragg.
Fireworks, power line sparks or even something as small as a cigarette butt could have ignited the fire, but right now how the fire started is still unknown.
"It's still under investigation. We're still asking some questions. A lot of these fires, you just never know."
Bragg said the Mississippi Forestry Commission assisted city firefighters on Saturday by plowing a fire break around the perimeter of the wooded area to keep hot spots under control.
Chief Bragg said October is Fire Prevention Month and people should take some time out of their day to read a little about the dangers of fires so they can be more aware of how easily a fire can occur and how they can help prevent fires.