Burn Ban

One step at a time, foresters are doing all they can to warn residents about the potential of fire outbreaks.

"Due to Katrina, we have probably 10 to 20 times more debris on the forest floor now than we had before the storm hit," says Ed Brown with the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

In fact, with much of south Mississippi, including Lauderdale and Clarke Counties, now under a burn ban, getting the word out about the potential danger of burning is so great that teams from other states have been called in to help spread the message.

"The debris that's on the ground is crispy dry and ready to burn," says Gail Washburn with the Virginia Forestry Commission.

Foresters say the situation is so serious now that where it usually takes them 45 minutes to contain a 10-acre fire, they say because of so much storm debris on the ground it's now taking them at least four hours just to contain such fires.

"With debris down from storm damage the way it is, it's hard to even get the equipment in to control the fire," says Washburn.

It's a dilemma which foresters describe as even more alarming as Hurricane Wilma nears the Florida coast.

"We're looking at high winds 10 to 15 miles an hour with gusts of up to 20, you just really need to think about it before you do any outdoor burning," says Brown.

While all of the area is not under an official burn ban, foresters are advising all to beware of burning.

"Remember to think twice Mississippi; don't let Katrina burn you twice," says Washburn.

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