Lightning responsible for five wildfires in SWLA NWRs

The following is a news release from the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex:

Lightning has ignited five wildfires on Sabine and Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuges along the Gulf coast in southwest Louisiana since June 18, 2011.

The initial wildfire, the Tourbe' fire, ignited on June 18th on a natural ridge located in the north central portion of the 26,403 acre Sabine NWR Management Unit 3. This 496 acre wildfire continues to burn hurricane debris and organic accumulations. Fire management crews continue to monitor the fire and conduct helicopter water drops as needed.

The second wildfire, the Grand Feu fire, started on July 3rd, is located in the central portion of the 23,277 acre Sabine NWR Management Unit 1.  This wildfire is currently 5,793 acres in size with additional dry grass available to burn.  Fire crews continue to monitor this fire and contain it to Unit 1 using helicopter water drops as necessary.

On July 5th, three additional wildfires started.  Two ignited on Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuges Gibbstown Unit and one on the Sabine NWR within Management Unit 5.  The Cameron Prairie Graton wildfire burned 2 acres in unit 10 and was extinguished the same day.  The Cameron Prairie Lagniappe wildfire burned approximately 15 acres of grass on a levee along the south central boundary of the refuge and was extinguished using fire engines and helicopter water drops the following day.  The 226 acre Cochon wildfire is still burning in Sabine NWR Management Unit 5 and is being monitored by fire management crews.

There are no facilities or structures at risk of burning near any of these fires.

Fire management staff will continue to monitor and report on existing refuge wildfires as well as watch for additional starts as thunderstorms pass through the area.  Wildfires in the marshes of southwest Louisiana, both on and off refuges, are common at this time of year due to summer thunderstorm activity.