Forestry Commission Budget Cuts Cause Concern Amid Burn Bans

JACKSON, Miss. – 66 of the 82 Mississippi counties are under burn bans, this as the dry weather trend continues.

“It’s pretty serious for us, we’ve got over 60 in the burn ban, and unless we get some rain we’ll probably add another 4 or 5 before the end of the week,” Mississippi Fire Marshal, Mike Chaney said.

Chaney says his office is picking up the load from the Forestry Commission’s 25 layoffs– including 4 forest arson investigators.

“They have terminated all of their forest fire managers, and now the state fire marshal’s office is also investigating forest fires,” Chaney explained.

Last year the Forestry Commission responded to nearly 2,000 fires, and with less manpower and just a little rain in the forecast, Chaney is urging the public to adhere to the burn bans.

“Don’t go out and say well it doesn’t affect me I’ve got a water hose, I’m going to burn my garbage in this garbage can. I don’t care nobody will see me that’s usually when we have a serious fire,” he said.

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