High winds, temperatures spread brush fires



High winds, temperatures spread brush fires

PALMETTO – Fire threatened two subdivisions on the Lee-Pontotoc County line Sunday when a local man’s effort to clean out his ditches got out of hand.

The problem was widespread in Northeast Mississippi as unseasonably high temperatures enticed people outside to do yard work and high winds spread small clean up brush fires until they became big trouble for local volunteer fire departments.

Palmetto Fire Chief Larry Banks said a ditch fire begun about 11 a.m. Sunday threatened the Harris Park and High Forest subdivisions on the Lee and Pontotoc county line until officials with the Mississippi Forestry Commission assisted local firefighters in digging fire lines to halt the spread of the blaze.

Banks estimated that the fire spread over 100 acres of land before it was finally stopped.

“It was too big for us to put out alone,” Banks said. “If the forestry commission hadn’t come out to help we could have been in big trouble.”

Numerous grass and brush fires over the weekend were reported by dispatchers in Calhoun, Itawamba, Pontotoc and Tishomingo counties as well.

A spokesman for the Tishomingo County Sheriff’s Department said, “We would like to advise people to stop burning brush when the wind is blowing 40 mph out there. Please.”

Calhoun County’s sheriff’s department logged five brush fires reported Friday, six on Saturday and two more by mid-afternoon Sunday.

Both Itawamba and Pontotoc County dispatchers reported numerous grass fire incidents throughout the weekend.

“The fire season for us runs through April,” said a spokesman for the Natchez Trace Parkway Sunday. Though the park lands have not suffered any fires for about a week, park personnel are in full readiness should one break out, he said.

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