Smoke from Forest Service prescribed fire causes school bus crash

Mississippi Rx burn smoke crash

WLOX

Smoke from a prescribed fire in southern Mississippi caused a chain-reaction crash that involved a school bus on Friday. The U. S. Forest Service conducted a prescribed fire near Bethel Road in Harrison County which produced smoke that mixed with fog, reducing the visibility to near zero. As the school bus entered the smoke on Highway 15, the driver quickly slowed down and was hit from behind, followed by a six-vehicle chain-reaction crash. Thankfully there were no serious injuries.

Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Master Sergeant Johnny Poulos said:

The conditions today were not favorable for safe driving. We have the fog that came in that actually kept the smoke down to the roadway. Just a really bad situation when you’re trying to drive and navigate, especially with a school bus.

The Forest Service had signs posted on the highway that warned drivers about the smoke. Spokesman Mario Rossilli released a statement for the agency:

Safety is a top priority for the National Forests in Mississippi. Fortunately, according to reports, there were no serious injuries sustained in the accident today. The National Forests in Mississippi has already begun what will be a comprehensive review of this incident. We are always looking for ways to further enhance safety. Prescribed burning is actually one method of creating a safer forest environment for visitors, including those in vehicles, by reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfire. Stakeholders, including local, county and state law enforcement are notified before burns are initiated. Our Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers are active participants in our prescribed burns.

Here is a video about the accident from WLOX in Biloxi, MS:

Share
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , by Bill Gabbert. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bill Gabbert

Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of WildfireToday.com and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. If you are interested in wildland fire, welcome… grab a cup of coffee and put your feet up. Google+