SEC. 49-19-303. Legislative findings; purpose.
(1) The application of prescribed burning is a landowner property right and a land management tool that benefits the safety of the public, the environment and the economy of Mississippi. Pursuant thereto, the Legislature finds that:
(a) Prescribed burning reduces naturally occurring vegetative fuels within wild land areas. Reduction of the fuel load reduces the risk and severity of major catastrophic wildfire, thereby reducing the threat of loss of life and property, particularly in urbanizing areas.
(b) Most of Mississippi's natural communities require periodic fire for maintenance of their ecological integrity. Prescribed burning is essential to the perpetuation, restoration and management of many plant and animal communities. Significant loss of the state's biological diversity will occur if fire is excluded from fire-dependent systems.
(c) Forest lands constitute significant economic, biological and aesthetic resources of statewide importance. Prescribed burning on forest land prepares sites for reforestation, removes undesirable competing vegetation, expedites nutrient cycling and controls or eliminates certain forest pathogens.
(d) The state manages hundreds of thousands of acres of land for parks, wildlife management areas, forests and other public purposes. The use of prescribed burning for management of public lands is essential to maintain the specific resource values for which these lands were acquired.
(e) Proper training in the use of prescribed burning is necessary to ensure maximum benefits and protection for the public.
(f) As Mississippi's population continues to grow, pressures from liability issues and nuisance complaints inhibit the use of prescribed burning.
(2) It is the purpose of Secs. 49-19-301 through 49-19-307 to authorize and promote the continued use of prescribed burning for ecological, silvicultural and wildlife management purposes.
SOURCES: Laws, 1992, ch. 348, Sec. 2, eff from and after March 1, 1993.