Fire crews in Southwest Louisiana encourage residents to obey burn ban

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Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 1:37 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Dry, hot temperatures are sparking wildfires in every direction.

The death toll in Hawaii has risen to nearly 100, and that number is expected to go even higher in the coming days. Thousands of acres of land are burning in at least 14 states across the U.S., including Louisiana.

Two wildfires burned 2,100 acres in Sabine Parish Monday, destroying several homes and other buildings.

Louisiana remains under a statewide burn ban, and firefighters in Southwest Louisiana are constantly on their toes.

Beauregard Fire District 2 Chief Wayne Baggett said they have had a total of 25 fires in just the month of August.

“One fire we’ve been to five or six times because it keeps relighting because it’s super dry right now,” said Baggett.

Chief Baggett said that with the extreme heat conditions and dryness, one forest fire was ignited by a cigarette butt and another by a hay baler causing sparks on the dry land.

“Got a call yesterday, somebody threw a cigarette butt out. In a matter of minutes, a half acre had done burned. Saturday we had a call for a hay baler. Somebody was bailing hay, kicked off sparks and caught the hay field on fire. We can have the same incidents Evans had or Sabine Parish had recently can happen here because it’s just that dry here now,” said Baggett.

Burn ban puts extra stress on fire crews

The statewide burn ban went into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7. The burn ban does not impact the use of barbeque grills, fire pits and small campfires for brief, recreational purposes.

The burn ban is in response to concerning dry conditions throughout the state.

Ward 6 Fire Chief, Todd Parker said it’s important that residents follow the burn ban and avoid accidentally burning their property, neighbor’s property or any buildings.

“A burn ban is to stop people from burning outdoors. Any trash, yard waste, things like that, so they don’t accidentally start a fire that could get out of control,” said Parker.

Chief Parker told us common questions they get at the Ward 6 Fire Station are things like, “What can I burn?”

“The only thing you should be burning is maybe a grill if you’re cooking, things like that. No outside open fires and also try to limit anything that creates sparks,” he said.

He said to avoid welding outside, grinding or doing anything that may create a spark and start a fire.

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Southwest Louisiana fire stations want to remind you that a fire can spark up in a matter of minutes, so it’s important that you follow the rules and remember that disobeying the burn ban is a danger for everyone involved.

Chief Parker said doing things like keeping your grass cut, cleaning leaves out of your gutters or even picking up debris from your yard can help lessen the chance of a wildfire.

Fire crews in Southwest Louisiana speak on statewide burn ban.