Stone County enacts burn ban

Stone County enacts burn ban
Boy Scouts at Camp Tiak endured a chilly night with no campfires. (Photo source: WLOX)
Boy Scouts at Camp Tiak endured a chilly night with no campfires. (Photo source: WLOX)

STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Dry conditions and brisk winds. It's the perfect mix for wildfires, and such fires have become a problem throughout much of Mississippi.

Stone County became the latest county to impose a burn ban Monday. County supervisors voted to enact a burn ban.

Dry conditions mean the risk of wildfires is great. The county's emergency manager says the decision is a public safety concern.

"It's really trying to protect home owners, as well as property owners, from forest fires getting out due to the significant drought we're in," said Raven James.

All it takes is a wind-blown ember from a trash pile to create a much larger blaze.

"It could take those sparks and blow them into an area where it could take off pretty quickly," said James.

One impact of the burn ban in neighboring Forrest County involves the Boy Scouts. Hundreds of scouts are at Camp Tiak for their winter gathering, but the fire pits are cold. No campfires are allowed this year.

Leaders say while the scouts may miss the nightly fires, obeying the law comes first.

"One of the things in the citizenship merit badge is talking about rights and responsibilities, and it's always good to teach the boys to do the right thing, even when nobody's looking," said scout leader Josh Donaldson.

"I can understand it a little bit, being no rain and dry out here, but I would still like them back. If we could have them, it would be nice," said Boy Scout William Wilson, with Troop 826.

Especially with an overnight low below freezing, Ben Cuny said they still manage to keep warm.

"We dress in layers," said the scout from Troop 371.

"It is a little bit different around. We're currently under a burn ban, and it makes it a little difficult to do some of the programs we had offered up. But, we're making it work, and I think the morale among the boys is pretty good," said Donaldson.

The burn ban in Stone County will remain in place for at least 30 days. County leaders will re-evaluate the situation after a month to see if it's still needed.

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