State, parishes issue burn ban amid dry conditions

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 8:40 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - With the lack of rain and windy conditions statewide, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury issued an executive order banning all private outdoor burning Wednesday.

This comes two days after the Louisiana Fire Marshal issued a statewide burn ban.

Firefighters are hoping people will take this burn ban seriously - not only could it prevent major devastation, but if caught burning right now, you could face a hefty penalty or even jail time.

“We are already at over 100 calls for the year and we are only middle way through February, and I think for the last two weeks, every day we’ve been on multiple grass fires, and that’s just one department. That’s not all of the other departments throughout the parish and Southwest Louisiana that are also responding to the same problems,” Ward 6 District 1 Fire Chief Todd Parker said.

That’s double their normal call volume, and the majority are about grass fires, Parker said.

The burn ban aims to prevent fires from getting out of control during these dry and windy conditions.

“This burning ban does not include if you’re cooking outside on a barbecue pit - that’s not affected by the burn ban. You can still cook food and things like that. But if you’re going to burn limbs, leaves, pin straw, things like that - we’re asking people not to do that now,” Parker said.

Fast-moving fires that can spread in the blink of an eye. However, he anticipates the burn ban to be lifted once the state gets a decent amount of rain to assist with wetting the fuels down.

One thing to keep in mind - we’re told most of the areas where these fires have occurred are covered by volunteer firefighters, and many of those departments are suffering staff shortages. If you are interested in volunteering, contact your local fire department or office of emergency preparedness.

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