Mississippi Loosens Burn Ban After More Rain and Fewer Wildfires

November 17, 2023

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Recent rain has helped improve drought conditions enough for Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves to partially lift a statewide burn ban.

Reeves, the Mississippi Forestry Commission and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said the burn ban will be lifted as of Thursday for all but 27 counties. It is up to the Board of Supervisors in those counties to either lift their burn ban, allow it to expire on the predetermined deadline, or extend the ban, Reeves said in a news release Wednesday.

The burn ban was ordered during the extreme drought that hit the state this year, prohibiting residents from burning yard waste, lighting campfires and any other activities that could ignite a dangerous blaze. From Aug. 1 to Nov. 14, the commission`s wildland firefighters responded to 1,506 wildfire calls that burned nearly 22,000 acres (8,903 hectares) throughout the state. The extent of damage would have been higher without the ban in place, Reeves` office said.

The counties with burn bans enacted by supervisors are: Attala, Calhoun, Carroll, Chickasaw, Clay, Grenada, Humphreys, Itawamba, Kemper, Lafayette, Lee, Lowndes, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pontotoc, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tishomingo, Union, Webster, Winston and Yalobusha.

“Even though you may be getting rain, people will need to be careful once this burn ban is lifted,” warned State Forester Russell Bozeman in an interview with WAPT-TV. “Conditions may still be ripe for a wildfire if you try to set a fire. “