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Dry Spell Keeps Firefighters Busy With Grass Fires

Water Valley firefighters had to deal with gusty winds while fighting a grass fire behind 1705 N. Main Street Saturday around 11 a.m. The blaze was one of at least five brush fires in the county since last Thursday. Rain early this week is expected to help the situation, if only temporarily. – Photo by Jack Gurner

By Jack Gurner

YALOBUSHA – It appeared that the county was trying to get an early start on the brush fire season with at lest five blazes reported since last Thursday.

However, fire officials expect the rain early this week to help at least temporarily.

Normally March is the really bad month for fires, according to the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

Unseasonably warm weather has been a factor in some of the fires as people are out cleaning up and burning debris. Statistically, most grass and brush fires are started by human activities. A grass fire on Martin Street last Thursday spread from what started as a controlled burn.

On Saturday, Water Valley firefighters were called to a brush fire behind homes in the 1700 block of North Main Street. Although fanned by gusty winds, the fire did only minor damage.

The next day around 6:30 Tillatoba volunteers responded to County Road 5 near the Tallahatchie County line. The first units on the scene reported a “medium to large grass and woods fire.”

On Monday about 4:20 p.m., the Water Valley Fire Department sent the “County One” truck to a small grass fire on County Road 485 just off County Road 214 (Airways Drive) west of the city.

About an hour and a half later, Tillatoba volunteers responded to a brush fire west of the their community on County Road 117.

None of the fires did major damage nor destroyed any structures. County Fire Coordinator Frank Hyde warned that Mississippi law holds anyone causing damage to another’s property liable.

Water Valley Fire Chief Mike Defer said to use of common sense when burning. “Be careful, remember how dry it is and don’t burn until the wind dies down.”

At press time Tuesday there were no burn bans in effect in the state.

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