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MS Launches Prescribed Fire Program on Private Lands

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) recently received funding through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for prescribed burning on private lands. The “Fire on the Forty” campaign is designed to assist landowners through cost-share opportunities for prescribed burning and to promote the appropriate use of fire on private lands in important areas. This new program is administered through Mississippi Partners for Fish and Wildlife (MPFW) and the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Although prescribed fire is a very important tool for forest and wildlife management (especially quail, which has been dubbed the “fire bird,” many private landowners are reluctant to use fire due to cost and liability concerns associated with burning. As part of the “Fire on the Forty” initiative, the MPFW will reimburse funded projects in selected focal counties up to 50% of costs for implementing and conducting prescribed fire. Focal counties include Monroe, Prentiss, and Noxubee in north Mississippi, and Amite, Pike, Pearl River, and Lamar in south Mississippi. This effort is expected to have a positive effort on quail, according to state quail coordinator Rick Hamrick, because quail priority areas were a part of choosing the prescribed fire initiative counties and will be a factor in the ranking of the applications.

Landowners must submit an application for entry into the program. All applications will be competitively ranked based on potential habitat benefits and will be selected for funding by the MPFW. All prescribed burning must be conducted by a Certified Prescribed Burn Manager, a certification completed through the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

For more information about the “Fire on the Forty” program, including project application forms, visit, contact John Gruchy (email, or call 601-432-2199. Follow the MDWFP on Facebook at or Twitter at





Rick Hamrick