Lafayette County under burn ban until November, steep fines for violations

Published 10:53 am Tuesday, October 4, 2016


As fall emerges in Lafayette County, folks who usually burn off their leaves are going to have to wait a few weeks and hope Mother Nature will soon bring rain to north Mississippi.

On Monday, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors voted to implement a burn ban in the county, effective immediately. The ban will be in effect until at least Nov. 7. At that time, the supervisors will determine whether to continue the ban. Lafayette County Deputy Fire Chief Wes Anderson told the board the ban was necessary because of the dry conditions in the county.

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The board exempted the state forestry commission to allow them to continue controlled burns in the county. A burn ban means residents are not allowed to burn any outdoor debris and could face a fine of up to $500 if they violate the order.

Lafayette County is the 12th county to issue a burn ban this fall. Panola and Pontotoc counties’ burn bans went into effect today.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index is 500 – 700 in most areas of the state. The KBDI measures the water content of the soil and duff layers, the scale ranges from 0 – 800 with 800 meaning there is no soil moisture available for vegetation. Lafayette County currently has a KBDI range of 600-700. The index increases for each day an area does not have rain.

Since June 1, the Mississippi Forestry Commission has responded to and suppressed 259 wildfires that burned 2,363 acres in the state of Mississippi. MFC wildland firefighters were able to save 348 structures from being damaged or destroyed, according to the MFC’s website.

“We would like to ask the public to exercise caution with any outdoor recreational burning, such as campfires and outdoor grills this fall,” said Charlie Morgan, state forester. “Please do your part to help prevent wildfires by observing local burn bans and exercising proper fire safety.”