May is Wildfire Awareness Month: Here’s what needs known

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:26 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) -Summer’s pastime is being outdoors, enjoying fun and freedom, games and gardening.

Sometimes. it means burning that brush cleared from the garden.

And that where the Mississippi Forestry Commission would like to step in and offer a few words of advice.

“Nine-tenths of the wildfires in the state of Mississippi are human-caused errors, so we just want to make sure with it being Wildfire Awareness Month that everybody’s being prepared just in case we do get a drought condition in the summer” says Kevin Craft of the Mississippi Forestry Commission

Keeping track of the weather each week is one, easy way to prevent the spread of fires throughout the summer.

Be advised: Just because the forecast calls for rain does not mean burning before the storm hits is OK.

“If there looks like there’s fixing to be a thunderstorm coming through, you might not want to burn right then even if you’re thinking it’s about to be wet, because with a thunderstorm front, normally there are high winds right before the thunderstorm gets there.” Craft said.

The purpose of this month’s designation about wildfire awareness was to ensure that folks were being made aware of the dangers of wildfires and know how to prevent them.

“Make sure that they aren’t burning on any windy days, that they’re watching their burn bans, that they’re not burning on extremely dry or drought conditions,” Craft said. “So, we just want to make sure that they’re burning in the right conditions and not burning while it’s too dry or too windy.”

Just because it’s May and most days are humid, doesn’t mean a wildfire can’t start. It’s important to remember the ways to prevent wildfires.

“We want to keep in the forefront of everybody’s mind to always be preventive of wildfires,” Craft said. “We can have wildfires year around in the state of Mississippi, so we always want to keep it in the forefront of everyone’s mind to be aware to prevent the wildfires.”

Here are simple ways to prevent the spread of wildfires:

  • Check drought conditions before burning
  • Put campfires in open locations far from flammables
  • Keep vehicles off dry grass
  • Keep water handy in case the fire begins to burn out of control
  • Make sure a campfire is cold to the touch before leaving it unattended
  • Keep sparks away from dry vegetation
  • Check weather conditions before using things such as fireworks.

For further information about burn bans and other wildfire preventions, visit here.

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