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WILDFIRE: The Next Storm

WILDFIRE: The Next Storm

Wildfire Minimize

Even with the rain many parts of Louisiana have received, wildfires continue to threaten rural homeowners with up to six homes lost each year. Sadly in most cases the homeowner started the fire that consumed the home. Even though arson still leads in wildfire ignitions, it is debris burns that destroy homes.

When you need to burn around your home, please contact the local LDAF office and fire department for advice as to burning conditions and precautions for burning. Always remember Prevention is a Homes Best Defense.

Handling of Debris Minimize

  • Clear vegetation at least 30 feet around your home and other structures, using weedeaters, lawnmowers, chainsaws and other mechanized equipment.
  • Make sure that all machinery is equipped with proper spark arrestors. Fuel equipment in areas void of vegetation.
  • Practice extra caution when fire danger is high.
  • Rake all leaves or needles that are within 30 feet of a structure.
  • Thin tree stands and brush to eliminate continuous vegetation which can promote wildfire spread.

Debris Disposal Minimize

  • Burning – Burn only when fire danger is low. Contact local agencies regarding burn regulations. Practice extreme caution whenever burning.
  • Chipping – Utilize wood chippers to eliminate tree branches and other vegetative debris. Remaining chips can be used to mulch gardens.
  • Hauling – Haul vegetative debris to designated dump sites in your areas.
  • Community Work Days – Organize a community cleanup day. Pool resources such as wood chippers and chainsaws to help those in your neighborhood without the necessary equipment to clean up around their homes.

Safe Debris Burning Tips

  • Cover debris piles with a sheet of plastic. Remove plastic during or after a rain storm and burn the pile when the surrounding vegetation is wet. This will reduce the chance of fire spreading to surrounding vegetation.
  • Make sure that piles are clear of vegetation at least ten feet around.
  • Avoid building debris piles under overhanging tree limbs or close to homes and other structures.
  • Have a water source and shovel located near pile in case fire spreads to surrounding vegetation.
  • Never leave a debris pile unattended while it’s still burning.
  • Keep piles small. Suggested size is 5 feet x 5 feet. If you have more debris to burn, you can always add to the burn pile later as it burns down.
  • Make sure the pile is completely extinguished before you leave it. Drowned with water. Stir the ashes with a rake or shovel. Feel for heat with the back of your hand a few inches from the ashes. If the pile is still hot, continue to stir and drowned with water and repeat the process until you’re sure the fire is completely out.
  • Before burning, contact local agencies to determine if burn regulations are in effect.