By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
Most of Northeast Mississippi was under a burn ban on July 4 and that caution paid off with few fires.
A majority of the region was spared from fires caused by fireworks or open burning on the Fourth of July.
One area that was impacted was Pontotoc County. Several of its fire units responded to a fire at Zion Baptist Church in Pontotoc on Wednesday. The church’s sanctuary was lost. Pontotoc County Fire Coordinator Adam Patton said the church fire is still under investigation but they suspect the cause was weather related.
Elsewhere in Northeast Mississippi, Lee County E-911 dispatched fire departments to 10 fires on Wednesday, many of which were canceled en route.
South Lee Volunteer Fire Chief Raymond Fells said his unit responded to one fireworks-related fire but the fire was put out before they arrived. They also responded to a report of a suspicious unauthorized burn.
Tupelo Fire Chief Thomas Walker said they had no fireworks-related fires. He said his department responded to a grass fire caused by a power line.
“The little bit of rain helped some, it dampened things up,” Walker said. “Usually I can hear fireworks from my house, but I didn’t hear any in my neighborhood last night. A little rain and then the heat that evening, I think, kept everyone inside.”
Tippah County Fire Coordinator Randy Stewart said the county’s burn ban has been effective. Tippah County did not get rain Wednesday.
“I only know of one call we had (Wednesday) and it was a small grass fire,” he said. “I know people shot some fireworks, but most people were real cautious with the dry weather.”