Increase in service calls taking a toll on Allen Parish firefighters
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Firefighters in Allen Parish have stayed busy this summer, responding to numerous calls about controlled or open burns getting out of hand.
Open burns are common in rural Allen Parish, and with extreme temperatures and recent dry conditions they can often get out of control.
District 5 fire Chief Ryan Daigle said while these firefighters won’t back down from a challenge, the increase in calls are taking a toll.
“It can be taxing on our firefighters. It’s already really 100 degrees outside and then you’re out there running around trying to fight a fire, and it’s even hotter,” Chief Daigle said.
Daigle said because the firefighters are unpaid volunteers, the extra hours, mixed with these extreme temperatures creates a bad recipe.
“Our firefighters are volunteers and so they spend 40 to 50, 60 hours a week on a regular job. So what they do for this community is a passion that they enjoy doing and they haven’t complained about it. But you can tell after a while that you know that it begins to wear on them,” Chief Daigle said.
They’ve had some relief with recent rain, but are still asking people to be cautious when burning.
“It’s still somewhat dry. I mean, it’s a better condition than it was obviously, a few weeks ago, but there’s nothing to say, ok, well, it’s we’re all good now. We’re going to need a lot more rain too, to make up for the dry weather that we’ve had,” Chief Daigle said.
Here’s what Chief Daigle said residents can do to give these firefighters some relief: watch the weather conditions- don’t burn on windy days, make sure you have tools there if it does get out of hand like a water hose or rake.
“But just exercise caution. Pay attention to it. Don’t leave it. You know if you have to leave, make sure somebody else is there to watch it,” Chief Daigle said.
Ultimately, Chief Daigle said no matter what, his firefighters will continue working to serve the community.
“It’s in their blood. You couldn’t, you couldn’t make them not do it. They’re passionate about their community and they’re really out there to help,” Chief Daigle said.
Chief Daigle said there is not a burn ban in place at this time, but the grass is still very dry and can burn easily. He also reminds people it is illegal to burn trash or cardboard, and residents can only burn things like branches, trees and other vegetation.
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