Fire officials want grass fire numbers to decrease soon

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- It only takes a spark. Dry ground and windy conditions create the set-up for fires. Fire crews are responding to more grass fires and are sending out a warning. Cleaning your yard and burning leaves doesn’t seem like an issue until the one second you turn around and next you have a yard fire.

There are simple ways to prevent this from happening and fire departments want to crack down on it for the community’s safety.

“The ground is still dry underneath so as soon as the sun and wind kicked up it did start drying out really quick and simple stuff like a cigarette can start something like this,” said Battalion Chief of Columbus Fire Department Chip Kain.

Fire Marshal Allen Lewis says these grass fires usually start on private property. With spring around the corner, people are beginning to clean up their yards.

“Most people are out burning leaves or wanting to get rid of yard debris and that’s what we’re seeing a lot of the grass fires right now is in residential areas,” said Lewis.

Kain expects to see more fires pop up in the coming days and possibly precautions put in place.

“It would not surprise me with the increasing winds and how dry things are going that we end up under a burn band in the next day or two especially if you get a larger number of these kicking up and how dry things are,” said Kane.

Assistant Fire Chief Duane Hughes agreed that there needed to be precautions set up and feels that the element of wind really increases fire hazards.

“Wind is always a problem when it comes to any outdoor burning. The wind can push the fire to areas that are unprotected also embers from the fire can be carried in wind and ignite combustibles that are quite a distance away from the original burn,” said Hughes.

Lewis says the department can help property owners assess whether it’s safe to burn on their property. And if they are allowed to.

“If you call any of the first stations or myself get in touch with any of us we can come out we’ll inspect the area, write a burn permit and those are usually good for 24 hours from the time that they’re written,” said Lewis.

Lewis and staff say they won’t issue permits if the wind is over 10 miles per hour and when burning items attend the fire at all times.

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