Lack Of Rain Has Forestry Commission Concerned About Growing Dangers Of Wildfires - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/23/05

Lack Of Rain Has Forestry Commission Concerned About Growing Dangers Of Wildfires

A wildfire prevention team surveys the still smoldering acreage of what just a few days earlier was a raging inferno that came to within a few hundred yards of threatening Gulfports Pine Hills Subdivision.

"You see those houses," asks Mississippi Public Outreach Forester Ed Brown. "That's the interface, we call the urban wild land interface where they mix in."

And according to Mississippi Forestry Commission officials, about 75 percent of the states homes are located in such areas.

Add that to the tons of now dried out debris left by Hurricane Katrina, and you're left with a potentially explosive situation in South Mississippi.

"We're looking at one of the worst wildfire threats in the history of Mississippi," warns Brown.

For Forester Timber Weller of St. Augustine Florida this is an all to familiar situation.

"Due to the 4 Hurricane's that hit the state last year, we had a bit of rehearsal for just this kind of situation," says Weller.

He's a member of one three Wildfire Prevention Teams made up of Foresters from six different states working to help their Mississippi counterparts spread the word.

"When it's this dry, we know they're are going to be fires but the question is will there be great loss. And heaven forbid if people are killed these things are very preventable."

The message is simple.

No outdoor burning of any type, either accidentally or on purpose.

Because doing so could have destructive or even deadly consequences.

"We looking at trying to keep these fires from getting started, from getting burned again by Katrina by fires," says Brown.

By: Don Culpepper

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