SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - If you see smoke in the skies Friday, it's most likely due to prescribed burns that are happening across South Mississippi.
In Jackson County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting a prescribed burn at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge.
Approximately 284 acres will be burned at the park, which is about one mile north of I-10 near Hwy. 57.
Officials at Sandhill say prescribed fires like this are essential to restoring the native wet pine savannah at the refuge. Burning to remove hazardous fuels is also part of Sandhill's mission.
Another prescribed burn is taking place in Jackson County near Kings Road. That's in the eastern part of the county in between Franklin Creek Road and Hwy. 63. County emergency officials say a landowner is performing a controlled burn on his property with permission from county officials.
In the northern part of Harrison County, the U.S. Forest Service is also burning 90 acres of land. That's happening in the Success community along Success Road, which is also known as Old Hwy. 67. Smoke may be visible from Airey Tower Road and Bethel Road.
Firefighting crews, including trucks and a helicopter, will be out in each of those areas monitoring the burns. Prescribed burns have been more frequent lately due to the recent rain and wind conditions, which makes burning and smoke dispersal much safer.