Wildfire Threatens Gulfport Business District - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Wildfire Threatens Gulfport Business District

Gulfport firefighters faced roaring flames, fueled by dry underbrush, hurricane debris, high winds, and the unknown of what could have been discarded on this industrial site off Three Rivers Road.

"There are businesses out here we don't know what's in these woods," says District Chief Donald Knox of the Gulfport Fire Department. "We've had several explosions so we're kind of in a situation where we're trying to be careful not to get anyone injured or hurt but we still have to do our job and put the fire out."

Firefighters responded to this wildfire adjacent to a busy Gulfport business district shortly before noon on Sunday.

What they found was a raging inferno already threatening nearby businesses.

"The wind was blowing and it's changing directions on us and we had several fires in several different locations so what we had to do is put all those fires out," says Knox.

The who or the what caused this wildfire is still unanswered.

But what is certain is this one like so many others lately grew dangerously out of control quickly, once again making the case why the county's burn ban must be enforced and observed.

"Because this is what happens when you start a small fire," says Knox. "It can to this, what we have here."

The cost for violating a Burn Ban can add up quickly.

Fines range from $150 to $500, plus court costs.

In addition, you can also be sited by the Mississippi Forestry Commission for $350 fine, plus charged $75 an hour for every vehicle they use responding to a fire.

Add onto that the fact that you can be sued for any damages your illegal fire causes anyone else's property, and the costs could quickly become astronomical.

"The best thing is not to burn at all," says Knox. 

And if an illegal fire should cost a life, money will no longer be an object for the violator.

By Don Culpepper

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