Mandatory evacuations remain in place as crews fight Beauregard wildfires

Locally Heavy Rain Potential
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 9:29 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Wildfires continue to burn through Beauregard Parish with the state is now calling the blaze the “Tiger Island” wildfire.

The ongoing fire has developed into mandatory evacuations across the parish burning over 13,000 acres of land.

A mandatory evacuation is ordered for those in the community of Junction, between Deridder and Merryville on highway 190.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that US 190 from LA 111 to the Texas/Louisiana State Line (Merryville) is closed because of wildfires.

Residents impacted are south of Neal oil field road, first responders were able to make progress containing the fire earlier this week, especially in the west. The fire then moved north and jumped over Highway 27, causing them to lose some ground.

This is causing residents to go to shelters. the American Red Cross has a shelter set up at United Methodist at 406 West Shirley St. in Deridder, with cots.

Also, Dry Creek Baptist Camp is open for shelter. The camp is located on Highway 113 in Dry Creek.

Laraine Waughtal is the pastor of First United Methodist Church and serves on the EOC shelter task force and said they wanted to do whatever they could to help.

“We figure people are going to be here for multiple days and so we’ve cleared that for them to stay. We’ll do what we need to do,” said Waughtal.

Residents in Merryville and surrounding areas are asked to “leave immediately” especially those on the following roads.

  • Fred Cloessner Road
  • Bob Cooley Road
  • Ira Cooley Road
  • John Bowman Road
  • North end of Newlin Cemetery Road
  • Mitchell Loop
  • Kenneth Dunn Road
  • Robert Slaydon Road.

On August 25th, a red flag warning was issued, as the threat of wildfires remain a concern across the Southwest Louisiana Region.

While meteorologists are predicting some possible rain chances and storms in a few days, Roger Erickson, with the National Weather Service said that the isolated to scattered thunderstorms are capable of causing frequent lightning that could lead to additional wildfires due to the dryness and is actually quite dangerous.

“It’s dangerous, because of the lightning. And the other thing with the fire near Merryville last night, when those storms were nearby it actually shifted the wind direction and it did push that fire closer to them” said Erickson. “While it was good to get some rain. It also produced a lot of lightning and we did have several new fires it also produced a lot of lightning and we did have several new fires develop yesterday due to the lightning strikes. We’re looking at a chance of showers and thunderstorms pretty much now through early next week and so that’s going to be a big risk that we’ll be monitoring day to day for them.”