Officials: Dry, windy weather dangerous

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Weather contributed to a Monday night blaze on Old Country Road, firemen say.

Apparently the subject who started the fire tried to light some old wooden pallets in order to make some coals for a barbecue, fire Captain David Freeman said.

&8220;This wouldn&8217;t have happened had it not been for a combination of the palates being so old and dry and the dry and windy weather that evening,&8221; Freeman said.

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According to Freeman&8217;s report, the fire quickly spread to cover an area approximately 150 feet by 250 feet.

Freeman said it took two Natchez Fire Department units, the Liberty Road volunteer unit and the Foster Mound Road volunteer unit help put out the fire but it was no use.

&8220;There was just too much heat for the amount of water we had,&8221; Freeman said.

The fire burned from 6:30 to 11:26 p.m. when an Adams County crew came with the bulldozer and dug a fire line around the fire to contain it.

&8220;The place where the man lived was an old pallet company,&8221; Freeman said. &8220;Most of the pallet piles were anywhere from three- to four-feet deep, but in some places the piles were as deep as seven to 10 feet deep. The fire had plenty of fuel to burn for hours.&8221;

Natchez Fire Chief Paul Johnson said he contributes most of the fires like this one to the dry weather the Miss-Lou is experiencing this summer.

&8220;In most cases people are responsible when lighting fires, but in this case the weather was just too dry and with a little wind it can just get away from them,&8221; Johnson said.

Johnson said earlier in the spring, the state of Mississippi issued a no-burn ordinance because of the dry weather.

&8220;I&8217;m not sure if one is in effect right now but if it continues to by dry like this, I&8217;m sure they&8217;ll issue one,&8221; Johnson said.

With summer holidays like the Fourth of July approaching, many people are buying fireworks to celebrate.

Natchez Fire Marshal Aaron Wesley said people should be careful when shooting fireworks this summer.

&8220;There is a ban on shooting fireworks inside the city limits but around the Fourth people tend to ignore the law,&8221; Wesley said.

If people are going to shoot fireworks, Wesley said he advises people to make sure to rake their leaves or pick up any dry or flammable debris around the area in which they are shooting.

&8220;If parents are going to let their children shoot fireworks, I strongly advise they be there supervising them,&8221; Wesley said.

Wesley said people should also take care to roll up their car windows if people are shooting fireworks near them and to clean out the gutters of their houses in case a firecracker lands on the roof of their houses.

&8220;A lot of times fire departments have to put out a house or car fire because people don&8217;t do these things,&8221; Wesley said.

Wesley also said people that shoot fireworks like bottle rockets or whistlers should shoot them straight up in the air by using a bottle or other container.