State fire marshal urges fireworks safety

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippians are being urged to be careful with fireworks during the July 4 holiday because of continuing dry conditions.

Fire Marshal Mike Chaney, who is also insurance commissioner, says eight counties and some cities have burn bans in place. Local officials also have been urging caution with fireworks.

Last year, based on the reports submitted to the State Fire Marshal’s Office reporting system, Chaney says Mississippi fire departments responded to 48 fires started by fireworks from between July 1 and July 10, 2011.

The Mississippi Forestry Commission says the drought index for most of the state is currently above 700 on a scale of 0-800, with 800 being the driest. MFC predicts the state will hit the 800 mark next week making conditions extremely favorable for outside fires.