A statewide burn ban is in effect at all state parks and fishing lakes in Mississippi until further notice because of consistently hot and dry weather, state wildlife officials announced Thursday.
The burn ban issued by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks prohibits the use of all open fires such as campfires, bonfires, fire pits, fire rings, burn barrels, debris burning and field burning.
The ban was put in place to "mitigate the risk of floating embers that could spark spot fires, endangering both park premises and surrounding areas," the department said in a news release.
Visitors to state parks and lakes, however, can use propane gas grills and heaters, as well as charcoal grills, but must cool and douse used charcoal briquettes before disposal, officials said.
Violation of the burn ban is considered a misdemeanor offense, and those found guilty can face fines ranging from $100 to $500.