HELENA, MS (WLOX) - After several hours Monday, fire crews in Jackson County finally contained a woods fire in Helena. Jackson County firefighters have been put to the test this fall, already battling their second forest fire in less than two weeks. Both fires were started innocently, but by the end, the menacing flames had put several people and their homes in danger.
"It's our understanding there was somebody doing some open burning on Firetower Road. The fire got away from them, and spread into the woods behind their home. Low humidity and high winds picked the fire up, and made it travel very fast into the woods," said Earl Ethridge, who is the Jackson County Director of Emergency Services.
A helicopter flew through the smoky sky, trying to assess the direction the flames were moving across the parched wooded terrain.
"The woods are very dry. We've had very little rain in the last few months, and so we've just got a tinderbox out there. It's very easy for the fire to spread quickly," said Ethridge.
Right now, the forest is littered with a thick layer of dry branches and falling leaves, creating bad timing for any types of burns. Ethridge adds that another threat is people moving further into seclusion.
"We have more people living up in the woods than what were living in the past, and it's very easy for the fire to spread. That's why we're thinking we're going to have an active fire season," said Ethridge.
Ethridge advises that you check with the Mississippi Forestry Commission first before doing any outdoor burning right now. The last fire in Jackson County, earlier this month, was also started by someone innocently burning in their back yard. That incident resulted in a $2,000 fine for starting the blaze.