Jackson County under burn ban

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX)- Pine trees and brush may not seem threatening, but pair them with a few weeks of dry weather and they could be fatal.

"The ground is dry, the grass, the forestry, everything is dry," said volunteer firefighter Speedy Speevake, "And it could ignite instantly."

"If it does actually happen to catch in the woods, it'll go quick," said Chief David Peto of the Gulf Park Estates Fire Department

Spivake is also President of the St. Andrews Home Owners Association in Jackson County.  He worries about the dry conditions, because he doesn't think people know the danger.

"I think alot of people don't realize that even when you're burning in your back yard near the woods, if you get a breeze like we have today, it doesn't take much for that fire to get out of hand," he said, "And even if it gets into the brush or into the woods, you could have a major major disaster."

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors is trying to prevent that disaster from happening. Until the next big rain, Jackson County is under a burn ban.

One of the biggest fears is that so many Jackson County homes are close to the woods.  If a forest fire were to rage out of control, it could mean a lot of trouble for countless homes.

"The fire could get away and cause some homes to catch on fire, embers from the pine trees or whatever could get on the roofs and cause some house fires," said District 5 Supervisor John McKay.

Here's one more sobering thought.  The county fire departments would not be able to handle a forest fire alone.

"If a forest fire were to happen, we don't have the fire fighting equipment to fight it," said McKay.  "They are not constructed as such."

In the event of a forest fire, other agencies would be brought in to assist.

Police and the Sheriff's Department are enforcing the ban.  People caught burning could be fined.