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:

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