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Burn ban still on despite cooler temperatures, slight rain

Oct 13, 2023Oct 13, 2023

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Despite cooler temperatures and a couple of rain events over the last two weeks or so, local fire officials say the statewide burn ban enacted by Gov. Tate Reeves is still going strong.

Forrest County Fire Coordinator Chip Brown said as of October 16, 53 of Mississippi’s 82 counties were still under the ban, which prohibits fires of any kind, other than cooking utilities.

“Even though we’ve had a few periods of rain in the last couple of weeks, we still haven’t had enough to even closely catch up to the deficit we’re in,” Brown said. “Right now, the burn ban remains under effect until further notice, with no exemptions in the county.

“The governor will have to be the one to lift it. It’s still very dangerous conditions right now for fire, with these windy days we’re having, with low humidity. (October 16) actually was a high-risk day for burning, so we ask that everyone please refrain from burning.”

According to the National Weather Service in Jackson, this week is expected to cool off significantly compared to recent temperatures in the Hattiesburg area, which up until last week reached up into the mid-90s Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature experienced this week was 49 degrees, with the highest expected at 79 degrees for October 20.

Officials expect the weather to remain sunny and clear, with the exception of a chance of rain showers on October 19, when the high temperature is set for 78 degrees.

Reeves signed a proclamation initiating the ban on August 21, in consultation with the Mississippi Forestry Commission and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. As of that time, the following counties were under that restriction: Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Clarke, Copiah, Covington, Forrest, Franklin, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Issaquena, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson Davis, Jefferson, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, Stone, Walthall, Warren, Wayne, Wilkinson, and Yazoo.

In the days leading up to the ban, temperatures in the local area stretched past 100 degrees several times, necessitating multiple “excessive heat warnings” from the National Weather Service in Jackson. That, coupled with the lack of recent rainfall in the area, brought about the ban.

Surrounding counties that are still under the ban include Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Perry, Jones, Wayne, Pearl River, Simpson, Stone, Smith, Jasper and Clarke. For a full list of counties, visit

“The ban is issued by the governor and can only be lifted by him,” Lamar County Fire Coordinator Kyle Hill said. “We don’t know when he’ll do it.

“The conditions are still very unfavorable for burning. I anticipate it remaining at least to the end of October.”

The following items are not allowed under a burn ban: campfires, bonfires, fire pits, fire rings, burn barrels, burning debris and field burning. Propane/gas grills, propane/gas heaters, and charcoal grills, however, are allowed.

According to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, deliberate violations of the burn ban constitute a misdemeanor offense, and those found guilty may face fines ranging from $100 to $500.

“We’ve had a bunch of calls,” Hill said in a previous story. “I wouldn’t say they’re all in violation of the ban, but we have had a lot of calls in the county – a couple of major ones, but most of them small.”

Brown said hopefully, the ban will be over sooner rather than later, and encouraged residents to be patient while under the regulations.

“Hang in there a little longer, and hopefully we’ll get a little more rain, and then it will be safe to burn,” Brown said. “But right now, we’ve just not had enough rain to be able to safely do any type of outdoor burning.”

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