Rural Calcasieu residents take fighting Niblett’s Bluff wildfire into their own hands

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 10:03 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CALCASIEU PARISH, La. (KPLC) - A Calcasieu Parish wildfire first reported Saturday afternoon in the Vinton-Toomey area near Niblett’s Bluff is still burning tonight. The fire is so deep in the woods, officials say it has been difficult to contain.

“First found out about it a few days ago, it was a quarter mile away and it was burning out of control,” said resident Michael Tabor. “I talked to the fire chief. He said they couldn’t get their trucks back there, it wasn’t contained.”

Local residents who have nicknamed themselves the Hillbilly Fire Brigade have worked tirelessly to try and contain the fire.

“I talked to the police officers that were blocking off the road, he said he walked back there, he said it was 200 yards wide and 40 feet tall,” said Tabor.

Most rural areas have volunteer fire departments that are not equipped to handle wildfires of this magnitude. When the fire started the wind was blowing south, so authorities thought it would burn out.

“The very next day the wind changed direction so it’s coming from the north, and now it’s coming this way,” said Tabor. “The firefighter said it had jumped the fire lane and was going north and it jumped it again going south.”

Local resident Tanesha Robertson said the fire started on Linscomb Road and is now headed east towards 109 and Alredge Road.

“It’s fire, fire loves to eat everything. We’re not really prepared for that cause we don’t have them here,” Tabor said. “Normally the ground’s so wet that you can’t go anywhere, now it’s extremely dry, a cigarette can start a fire.”

Ward 7 Fire Chief Tom Berry said the fire is under control, but that does not mean it cannot break out again. He said the fire does not pose any danger to homes or structures.

Berry said crews used private tractors to create fire lines, but one of the tractors was burned Wednesday night. He assured residents firefighters are doing everything they can, and at last word, they were waiting on help from the forestry service.