Starkville Fire Department officials have again imposed a ban on all outdoor burning inside the city limits.
The ban was announced Monday after several days of dry, windy conditions and no rainfall and in the wake of a statewide wildfire alert by the Mississippi Forestry Commission last week.
“With it being as dry as it has been and as windy, we felt it would be best to have another burn ban inside the city,” said Mark McCurdy, one of two fire marshals with the SFD.
McCurdy said a few burn permits had already been issued by the Fire Department, but noted that the holders of those permits would not be allowed to conduct any burning until the ban is lifted.
“We will honor those previously issued burn permits once we lift the burn ban,” said McCurdy on Monday. “Right now, we just believe the danger of a wildfire is too great to allow burning inside the city.”
Violation of the burn ban will result in a fine of $500 plus all costs incurred by the City of Starkville. Each day will be considered a new violation
The ban will remain in place until the area sees a period of sustained rainfall to saturate the ground and local vegetation.
National Weather Service forecasts don’t show that happening in the foreseeable future. Meteorologists are forecasting sunny skies with daytime high temperatures in the 70- to 85-degree range through Sunday.
No rainfall is forecast locally for the next several days and relative humidity levels are projected to remain at extremely low levels of 20 to 25 percent, according to forecasts.
The NWS has also placed Oktibbeha County and most of central Mississippi under a red flag warning Monday, which meant that weather conditions — a combination of low humidity, strong winds and warm temperatures — had had the most potential for “explosive fire growth” to occur.
Oktibbeha County and all the surrounding counties remain under a fire weather watch through this evening.
As of Monday afternoon, 39 Mississippi counties — including neighboring Winston, Lowndes and Clay counties and several others within a short drive from Oktibbeha County — have enacted burn bans, according to the Forestry Commission’s website.
Oktibbeha County officials have not yet imposed a ban, though two wildfires have occurred within the county over the last few days.
This past Thursday, a wildfire engulfed more than 200 acres of pasture and woodlands in the Craig Springs area, while another did an unspecified amount of damage in the Oktoc community off Robinson Road.
Anyone needing information about burn bans or wildfire prevention is encouraged to visit the Forestry Commission’s website at http://www.mfc.ms.gov .
For more information on the Starkville burn ban, call the Fire Department at 323-1845 during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Monday to Friday.