Dozens of Mississippi counties are under a burn ban. One county’s sheriff reminds us all just how serious it is to follow the directive.

Published 8:59 pm Thursday, August 24, 2023

George County volunteer firefighters have responded to approximately 30-plus grass and woods fires since August 1. The George County Sheriff’s Department has issued a reminder that this county, along with dozens of others, is under a burn ban.

“We would like to remind our fellow citizens that George County, and the entire southern portion of Mississippi, is currently under a burn ban until further notice,” a statement reads “This means no brush piles, trash piles, bonfires, tires, s’mores fires, unattended flames of any kind – NO BURNING! Grills are okay as long as they are attended to at all times and coals are thoroughly extinguished when not in use.”

The department also posted a section of Mississippi code to explain the law:

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49-19-351. Restrictions on outdoor burning during drought or wildfire conditions; penalties.

(1) In this section, “drought or wildfire conditions” means the existence of a deficit of moisture creating severe conditions with increased wildfire occurrences as determined by the State Forestry Commission through use of drought indices or models or the existence of extreme wildfire conditions.

(2) If the State Forestry Commission determines that drought or wildfire conditions exist in a county, the commission shall notify the board of supervisors of that county. The commission may recommend that a temporary outdoor burning ban or other restrictions be adopted by the board of supervisors.

(3) The board of supervisors may, by order, prohibit or restrict outdoor burning in all or part of the unincorporated parts of the county if drought or wildfire conditions have been determined to exist by the State Forestry Commission. An order must specify the period during which burning is restricted. The State Forestry Commission shall notify the board of supervisors when the drought or wildfire conditions no longer exist. Any order issued under this section shall expire upon the determination that the drought or wildfire conditions no longer exist.

(4) Any person who knowingly and willfully violates an order under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be fined not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).

(5) The sheriff of the county shall enforce the order and may cite persons for violations of an order under this section.