Junk Campers, Cars Complicate Miss. Wildland Fire

Jan. 17--HARRISON COUNTY -- Firefighters in Harrison County spent Monday putting out grass and forest fires along with old campers and cars that were ablaze.

County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan said the fires started around noon and burned more than 150 acres. He expected crews to be working well into Monday night to contain them.

"I think it is dry conditions. It was windy today," he said late Monday.

The most stubborn fire burned through a property off Landon Road where old vehicles were stored. "We had numerous vehicles and campers and RVs that burned," Sullivan said. "The smoke was thick, and a very toxic type of smoke."

Sullivan said he would work with the county code office, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the state Forestry Commission to resolve the problems at the site. He said the old vehicles make the property unsightly and unsafe to neighbors and public safety officials who fought the fire.

Firefighters from the Forestry Commission, Gulfport, Lizana, Saucier, Cuevas and West Harrison fire departments responded to the fires that broke out in several locations throughout the county.

Sullivan said rain is forecast for today and he feels it is too soon to ask for a county burn ban.

"Just use good common sense," he advises. "Don't start a fire and leave it. That's one of the worst things you can do. Keep it small. Don't use fuel. Really know what the weather condition is."

He said cutting torches may have sparked some of Monday's fires when the user discarded hot parts. "As dry as it is, in some cases that can cause problems," he said.

Hancock County officials didn't have any reports of grass fires Monday. A fire was reported on Gavin Hamilton Boulevard in the Hurley-Wade area of Jackson County.