State-Imposed Burn Bans Issued For 32 Louisiana Parishes
Due to the extremely dry conditions in certain parishes within the state, State Fire Marshal Butch Browning and Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain have issued a cease and desist order for all private burning.
It will only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government. The order is effective as of 3 p.m. today and will stay in effect until we see some significant rainfall.
The order covers the following parishes: Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, DeSoto, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, LaSalle, Lincoln, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll and Winn. Click here for a map of the parishes under the ban.
Browning says anyone caught violating the ban could face fines up to $1,000, and further infractions could lead to jail time. He says this is something officials take very seriously. "Two years ago, we had a serious problem with wildland fires," Browning says. "We issued the bans, and just people adhering to the bans, we saw some 60% reduction the next month of wildland fires."
He says a lot of wildland and grass fires start with a trash fire left unattended, or in a strong wind, and they get out of control. Though conditions aren’t as bad now as they were two years ago, when we had a rash of woodland and grass fires throughout the area, they’re still dry enough to be a cause for concern. And he says one day of rain isn't going to alleviate the problem.
Check out the rest of the KEEL News interview with Browning here: