JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Firefighters now have an idea of what caused the massive blaze that burned hundreds of acres and chased residents out of their homes Saturday and it wasn't Mother Nature.
Forestry Commission officials said they believe human hands started a fire in the woods of a nearby subdivision and it quickly got out of control. As of Sunday, the fire was 85 percent contained. Firefighters were out watching for hot spots.
Eddie Courson and his partner are working around the clock spraying down hundreds of hot spots in the charred areas of Jackson County.
"So it doesn't flop across and start burning everything else," Courson said.
So far, Saturday's large woods fire has burned 850 acres of land. While the fire itself is contained, Courson said heavy, thick smoke is still a threat.
"Smoke issues are going to persists until we get some type of rain event to put it out. Unfortunately, that is the way it is," Courson said as he worked to put out hot spots. "We can go around the edges and try to put her to bed so she doesn't come out, but the interior is going to smoke."
The men said what's more upsetting is to know someone's carelessness may have sparked this blaze and did all this damage.
Folks who live in the area are also breathing a sigh of relief.
"It is pretty bad, but not how we thought it was going to be," a Jackson County Resident said. "When we came out here last night we thought it was going to be a lot worse."
There were others who gathered at the Sunplex Center near Highway 57 to check on their businesses. They said it feels good to know their livelihood did not go up in flames.