Burn ban lifted, but fire danger still lingers

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY (WLOX) -  Mississippians wake up Thursday morning somewhat relieved that Governor Haley Barbour has lifted a statewide burn ban that went into effect October 6th.  The Mississippi Forestry Commission says a change in weather was the primary reason for lifting the ban.

Despite the rain, fire officials say the threat of fires getting out of control is still ever-present.They suggest people take some precautionary steps when they burn.

"The general rule is that you stay 100 feet away from an existing building, have some means of keeping the fire under control and have a competent person in attendance at all times," says George Mixon, Harrison County fire marshal.

If people aren't careful, Mixon says they might have to take financial responsibility for their actions.

"The conditions are such that the wind could dry out the ground, and it could become a fire danger again. People need to understand if a fire gets off their property then their liable for the damages, and they could be fined several hundred or thousands of dollars," says Mixon.

Fire crews are dealing with dollar and cents issues, for different reasons, without adding on the threat of out of control fires.

"In these budget times, the fire crews have been reduced. If they have multiple fires at the same time in multiple locations, it could stretch the resources to a dangerous level," says Mixon.

The public is a bit divided on whether the ban should be lifted.

"It's still to dry right now to lift it," say David Lewis, Harrison County

David Viloure of Bay St. Louis says, "I think it's right on time. It's been raining the last couple of days."

Though the statewide burn ban as been lifted, the Mississippi Forestry Commission says 17 counties are still under county burn bans. They include three South Mississippi counties - Forrest, Jones and Lamar

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