Fires a needless threat in dry weather

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Under normal circumstances a small grass fire is a tiny blip on the Natchez Fire Department’s radar screen. But when such fires happen under the dry conditions we’re experiencing, things can quickly get ugly. For the last several days the Natchez Fire Department and all of the area’s volunteer fire departments have spent dozens of hours fighting needless brush fires.

And the story behind the cause of the fires is almost always the same.

Someone decides to burn a little trash or burn off some property and the fire gets out of hand.

Email newsletter signup

If it were simply a matter of the property owner losing a few bushes, such a fire might be acceptable. But what’s really on the line is life and property.

So far all that’s been lost is acres of undergrowth, a few trees and the time of the firefighters who are battling the fires to prevent the loss of life and property.

Fortunately, luck has been on our side.

Small grass fires move quickly through the dry brush and can jump across road as swiftly as the wind blows.

The fires can race across fields and threaten human lives and property.

Purists will say wildfires are natural. And, indeed, they are, but these fires have been at the hand of careless humans.

Fire officials say they can’t easily mandate a ban on burning, but they do urge county residents to advise the fire department whenever they plan on burning something as long as the dry conditions continue.

But we urge each citizen to go a step further and voluntarily agree not to burn anything without getting permission of the fire department until Mother Nature decides to precipitate a little fire prevention from the sky.