Local jobs part of Forestry Commission budget cuts

By  | 

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Budget cuts will force the forestry commission in both Lauderdale and Newton counties to combine with Scott County. That will leave several people without a job.

On July 1, Mississippi counties will be combined into regions. Lauderdale and Newton will rely on services dispatched from Scott County, which would take a while.

“Take for instance the field behind me. This field could get out of control and if it takes an hour and a half or two hours, then you’re talking about people’s lives at stake, homes at stake and businesses,” Dist. 3 Supervisor Josh Todd says.

Lauderdale County Fire Coordinator Allan Dover says forestry goes into the woods to stop the fire. Without this, volunteers would have to use different tactics.

“Whenever it comes back out into an open area, then we could attack it. That means that everything between line A and line B is going to be damaged or destroyed,” Dover says.

Dover says this might cause major problems for land owners who experience a fire. County supervisors are trying to combat this problem before we enter the dry season. Their solution is to create an in-house service that would provide similar resources like the Forestry Commission. This would include hiring personnel and allocating equipment.

“There’s a big legal matter. Lauderdale County cannot get of the right of way, but on the other hand, our volunteer fire service can. We’re trying to figure out how we can do this legally and still help the citizens of Lauderdale County,” Todd says.

Dover says the state of Mississippi has taken away something that helps volunteer firefighters.

“They’ve been doing it for several years and if it continues on the route it’s going, I’m not sure that we are not going to have an incident like other states have had in the last few years. “It is my sincere hope that we do not lose a home because of this,” Dover says.