DAF explains their new way of monitoring wildfires
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The hot temps, lack of rain, and afternoon winds are the perfect recipe for a wildfire to spark. Several homes in Zachary were spared this week after a large grass fire spread from a controlled burn. The quick response from the Zachary Fire Department stopped the flames from causing any property damage.
“Mainly a windy day like today is the worst part. Obviously, you walk through the grass right now and it’s pretty crisp everything’s brown and it’s pretty much dead. It moves through that a lot faster than when it’s green grass or things like that,” said Gordan Limpscomb with the Zachary Fire Dept.
Once a spark turns into flame it doesn’t take long to spread. A slight breeze can cause the fire to move 15-20 feet in seconds. The state’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s have changed the way they monitor potential wildfires to a more efficient method.
“We used to have over 100 fire towers across the state, now we use aircraft. And so, we have 8 aircraft that are in the air at any point from when a fire can start. So, in other words, at a certain time of the day whenever its conducive we go up in the air and we fly grids,” Commissioner Mike Strain explained.
The aerial view helps state crews respond to fires much more quickly as well as find them before they can grow to catastrophic levels.
“When they see it the first thing they do is home in on it to see what the cause is, whether it’s on a normal day, a controlled burn, a trash pile, or a wildfire,” Strain continued.
Last year we had 1,416 wildfires in the state and our 10-year average is 771. We’ve had 357 already in the first 22 days of August.
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