Fire Danger at High Level

By: Chris Whited Email
By: Chris Whited Email

Drought conditions continue to worsen in east Mississippi and west Alabama. The area is nearly 18 inches below normal rainfall.

As the rain deficit grows, so does the report of forest and grass fires.

"The drought situation and our rain deficit, our wildfire danger is growing, increasing every day," said Ed Brown of the Mississippi Forestry Commission. "The woods are getting drier. In July, we had the scattered thunderstorms and had no fire responses. I know here in our district it was good as it gave our firefighters a break. In August, we are starting to increase."

Brown said, just in the month of August, there have been fifty wildfires suppressed in Mississippi and nearly 640 acres burned. He says a fire near Montrose in Jasper County last week destroyed over 80 acres.

"That's probably the biggest wildfire we've had since July, that started our new calendar year," Brown said. "We had an 80 acre wildfire that go out. It was a landowner doing some site prep burning getting ready to plant some trees. That just shows you how dry the forest is as the fuel moistures are down low."

The fire threat is worse in Alabama where 227 fires have been reported just in August. They burned over 3,000 acres.

Fifty-nine of Alabama's 67 counties are under a no burn order. Southwest Alabama remains under a fire alert.

Meridian reinstated its burn ban earlier this week. Thursday, Lauderdale County officials recommended another burn ban. Supervisors will decide at their next meeting on Monday.

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