Drought forces extension of burn bans

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI — Supervisors in several South Mississippi counties have voted to extend burn bans that were put in place two weeks ago because of drought.

Yesterday, board members in Harrison and Jackson counties extended the ban until June 20, and supervisors in Hancock County made it effective indefinitely. Stone County’s burn ban is in effect through Monday, and the George County ban goes through June 24.

Pearl River County hasn’t issued a burn ban but officials are monitoring the situation.

Brian Adam, emergency manager for Hancock County, told The Sun Herald that there is no significant rain in the immediate forecast.

“Until we get an inch or two of rain county-wide, we’re still in a crisis situation,” Harrison County Fire Chief Pat Sullivan told supervisors. “We’ll see what the situation is in two weeks and go from there.”

Burning normally is allowed in the counties with a permit, but not in the city limits. The burn bans apply to all counties and cities. Anyone violating the ban will be charged with a misdemeanor and fined between $100 and $500, according to the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

In April, officials with the U.S. Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln listed the Mississippi Coast as being in a severe drought, a condition changed to extreme drought in mid-May. Portions of the upper three counties also are in an extreme drought, with other counties in a severe drought.

Most of the rest of the state is listed as extremely dry since few counties have received normal rainfall amounts so far this year.

Source: The Sun Herald

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