Caddo Parish fire crews and Louisiana forestry officials have a handle on a fire that burned for two days and charred more than 20 acres of woodland near Vivian. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says fires like this are on an uptick this time of year, as we've seen in the northwest. But he says Louisiana is faring well so far, because it hasn't been as unusually dry and hot as it was two years ago.

"We had a very serious fire up in Oil City, and we had a another series of serious fires in north Natchitoches Parish that was just tremendous," Browning says. "So, it hasn't been that bad. But, of course, we're continuing to monitor it. But I think before a burn ban and before we try and predict things, the most important thing is that people need to be responsible if they're setting fires."

Browning says typically in Louisiana, the cause of woodland fires is small incidental fires getting out of control. "If we could control that on a year-round basis, we normally don't have a problem," he says. "Some of the largest fires we've had in the state have been from a small fire that someone left unattended and before you know it, several acres are on fire."

Browning tells us he's in constant contact with Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Mike Strain to make sure Louisiana is ready for anything. Right now, the only parish we know of that has a burn ban in effect is DeSoto. There aren't any statewide ones in place so far.

So what are some tips to keep an outdoor fire from getting out of control? Browning says first of all, you need to have a way of extinguishing that fire, and make sure that no burning embers are left behind. The fire should also be in an area that's clear of vegetation.

Listen to the rest of our KEEL Morning News interview with Butch Browning here:

For other fire prevention tips and advice, visit the Ag and Forestry website.


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