Firefighters still battling brush blazes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 22, 2000

It’s been one fire after another recently for Natchez firefighters. High winds and dry brush have contributed to at least five grass and forest fire calls in the past two days.

Natchez Fire Chief Gary Winborne said fires often start when people decide to burn trash on their property.

Often these fires spread out of control.

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&uot;It’ll surprise you how fast it can burn,&uot; he said. &uot;They don’t realize how quickly it can get away from them.&uot;

Once the wind hits the blaze you often have to run to keep up with it, he added.

With the help of the local forestry commission, the department spent at least five hours battling a grass/forest fire in the Artman/Airport Road area Tuesday.

Firefighters were still working to contain the fire late Tuesday afternoon but information on how it started and its size was not yet available, Winborne said.

At one point, the fire caused a tree to fall, blocking the road to a fire department vehicle, he added.

The Kingston area has had two fires this week. On Monday a fire in Kingston consumed four acres of woodland, and it took firefighters about three hours to get it under control in a wooded area across from Greenfield Road, said Commander Oliver Stewart of the Natchez Fire Department.

&uot;People were burning off land and it got away from them,&uot; he said Monday. &uot;Dry weather and wind drives it.&uot;

The other fire in the Kingston area burned late Tuesday afternoon.

No one has been injured in the fires, and no homes have been damaged.

Although property owners can burn items in the city limits with a permit, Winborne doubts he would issue any at this time. &uot;Everything is just so dry right now,&uot; he said.

County residents do not need a permit to burn, but the fire department is asking people to refrain from burning until conditions improve.

&uot;You don’t need to burn grass or anything else in the dry, windy conditions like we have right now,&uot; Stewart said.

In past years, if too many grass fires are occurring, the forestry commission has been known to temporarily ban burning in the county, Winborne said.

Concordia Fire District No. 2 was also busy fighting trash and grass fires earlier this week. They extinguished two trash fires that got out of control and two grass near Deer Park and two trash fires on Minorca Road.