More than 4200 acres in Harrison County burned in May

This was the scene of a fire Friday afternoon off Duckworth Road.
This was the scene of a fire Friday afternoon off Duckworth Road.

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The month of May is drawing to a close, and it's seen more fire than it has rain.

"With our drought index we go on a scale from 0 to 800, and right now we're into the 600s," said Mississippi Forestry Commission Public Information Officer Mike Gray.

The Forestry Commission responded to three fires in Harrison County on Friday alone, including one off of Duckworth Road in Gulfport. With help from city and county agencies, the commission has been working to keep all the fires contained.

"This takes up an awful lot of resources that could be used somewhere else if they're really needed.  If there happens to be a structure fire, these guys are out here taking care of this it might take them longer to get out there and get help," said Gray.

Gray also says that the Forestry Commission has only two crews in the county, which means longer response times.

One method for containment is burn out, where fire fighters do a controlled burn ahead of the fire to get rid of potential fuel.

Just grass burns at around 800 degrees Fahrenheit.  When that's combined with the dry conditions seen throughout South Mississippi, it's easy to see how fires are easily spread.

"So far in Harrison County, we've had 158 fires for a total 4200 acres, which is pretty rare for these times of year," said Gray.

Investigators are looking into the causes of each fire.  They advise everyone to use extreme caution during this drought.  Only burn when absolutely necessary, don't burn with winds over 10 miles per hour, and contact fire authorities with any problems.

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