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Why MDEQ put a stop to Jackson County’s burning near a subdivision

Mary Morgan took these photos of Jackson County burning debris from a new road it is building near her property. Others in the Quail Creek subdivision of St. Martin complained about ash coming into their yards and pools. The MDEQ told the county to stop on Thursday.
Mary Morgan took these photos of Jackson County burning debris from a new road it is building near her property. Others in the Quail Creek subdivision of St. Martin complained about ash coming into their yards and pools. The MDEQ told the county to stop on Thursday.

People in the Quail Creek subdivision of St. Martin complained to the state Department of Environmental Quality about burning that Jackson County was doing this week close to their property.

And the MDEQ told Jackson County to stop.

The county is building a new road from the curve at Old Fort Bayou Road to connect with Walker Road and give people who live south of Interstate 10 in this area an alternate route out besides Old Fort Bayou Road. There are several county schools in the area and traffic can be fierce at times.

But the burning that county road crews was doing over several days this week rained ash down on cars, boats and into at least one swimming pool at homes along the north side of Quail Creek.

“It was just too close to houses,” said Jerry McNew, who lives on Dove Lane. He called the Sun Herald to report that the burning had been a problem on and off.

In his case, the burning turned his pool water brown and plastered his vehicle and boat with ash.

“They didn’t tell us it was coming,” he said. “None of us got any input.”

He said it was hot ash falling into a subdivision on Wednesday.

His neighbor Mary Morgan said there was a burn on Nov. 6, one on Tuesday and one Wednesday. She shot video and posted pictures on her Facebook page.

Her pictures show high flames that appear to be within several yards of a privacy fence.

People in the area have been putting up with road widening and reconfiguring for more than a year and the county has tried to improve access to the schools. McNew said the road work also has caused drainage problems in the area and water is backing up into yards.

The new road project is about better traffic flow.

Butch Loper with the county Road Department said crews were burning debris left over from clearing the roadway.

The road will be a little less than a mile through wooded areas.

He said burning saves the county a great deal of money because hauling it off is expensive.

He said when they are through, they would also use the ash along the road way to help fertilize.

“People need to understand, it’s their money we’re saving,” he said.

He said they were able to burn about two-thirds of the project debris, before the state stopped them. The rest will be hauled off.

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