Marion County has been placed under a burn ban until at least Oct. 15 following the hottest and driest September on record in the region.
The county has not had any significant rainfall since Aug. 20, when it rained 1.6 inches according to Marion County Emergency Director Aaron Greer, with a total of only .18 inches falling during September. The .18 inches fell over two days, Sept. 10 and Sept. 17.
“Right now we have had about the average number of grass fires normal for the year; we are hoping by placing the ban in effect it will keep something major from happening,” he said.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission implemented the burn ban for Marion County on Monday, and as of press time 33 counties in Mississippi are under a burn ban. Individuals caught violating the restrictions can be fined up to $500.
For August Marion County was above average in precipitation when it had 6.5 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The National Weather Service has September 2019 being the warmest and driest September on record for the Hattiesburg area.
Driving around Marion County one can see signs of the lack of rainfall with the grass turning brown and the river and creeks going down. According the Mississippi Army Corps of Engineers the Pearl River was staged Tuesday at .60, which was a .05 drop from Monday.
No campfires, bonfires, fire pits, fire rings, burn barrels, debris burning, field burning or anything with an open flame that produces an ember are allowed. However propane and gas grills and heaters and charcoal grills are allowed. The next chance for rain is tonight with chances at 20 percent.