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LDAF crews continue to battle wildfires, dry conditions

October 29, 2010

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) wildland firefighting crews battled 19 wildfires Oct. 28 across Louisiana. The fires scorched more than a thousand acres.
Sixty-six LDAF crewmembers worked to suppress the wildfires. LDAF forestry enforcement personnel are investigating the causes of the fires.
Two wildfires, one at Esto and another at Florien near the Toledo Bend Reservoir in Sabine Parish, threatened houses, camps and other structures. One home was lost at another fire in Winn Parish.
Near Esto off Bluegill Road, LDAF wildland firefighting crews contained a 150-acre fire that threatened homesites. Esto is about 15 miles southwest of Many.
LDAF crews engaged eight bulldozers, two brush trucks and a fire detection plane to suppress the fire.
More than 30 fire engines from local volunteer fire departments protected more than 100 homes and structures while LDAF crews dug firelines around the wildfires. LDAF bulldozers separated a burning wooden porch from a homesite to spare the house from fire.
A 300-acre fire near Florien off Prospect Road was suppressed by LDAF crews.
Eight LDAF bulldozers, two brush trucks and a fire detection plane responded to the Florien fire. More than 20 fire engines from local volunteer fire departments protected dozens of homes while LDAF crews suppressed the wildfire.
On the Beauregard-Calcasieu Parish line near DeQuincy, LDAF fire crews detected and suppressed a wildfire that burned 280 acres.
LDAF bulldozers cut firelines around DeQuincy Middle School, two apartment complexes and four homes to successfully protect and route the fire away from the neighborhood.
Four LDAF bulldozer crews and a fire detection plane helped contain the fire. Local volunteer fire departments operating 15 fire engines worked to protect structures in the area.
LDAF fire crews also responded to a wildfire near Winnfield that burned more than 250 acres.
Six LDAF bulldozers and a fire detection plane contained the fire while 15 fire engines from local volunteer fire departments protected structures in the area.
In addition to the LDAF ground crews, the U.S. Forest Service deployed three bulldozers and two airtanker planes stationed in Alexandria to suppress the fire near Winnfield.
The Forest Service planes dropped eight loads of fire retardant to help suppress the fire.
Eight homes were protected, but one residence and a few outbuildings were lost.
Since Oct. 1, LDAF crews have detected and suppressed 483 wildfires that burned nearly 6,000 acres.
Strain and State Fire Marshall Butch Browning said the statewide burn ban declared on Oct. 2 is still in effect and will be enforced until further notice.
“Our resources are being stretched to the limit,” Strain said. “Louisiana is in a severe drought and we need everyone to honor the outdoor burn ban. I’m talking about campfires, debris burns, trash burning in metal drums — none of this is acceptable in these dry conditions.
“The humidity rate continues to be low and vegetative material like pine needles, dry leaves and fallen timber branches will spark and burn very rapidly.
“Parish sheriff’s offices are enforcing the ban and will issue citations.”
Strain said homeowners can take several steps to help protect their homes from wildfires.
—Clear vegetation at least 30 feet away from your home and other structures, using weedeaters, lawnmowers, chainsaws and other mechanized equipment.
—Make sure that all machinery is equipped with proper spark arrestors.
—Refuel your equipment in areas void of vegetation.
—Practice extra caution when fire danger is high.
—Remove all leaves or pine needles that are within 30 feet of a structure.
—Thin tree stands and brush to eliminate continuous vegetation which can promote wildfire spread.
Strain said the LDAF is responsible for wildfire detection and suppression of 18.9 million acres of wildland, including valuable commercial timber resources, yet receives wildfire detection and suppression funding from landowners for only 53 percent of the protected area.

For more information on forest protection, visit the LDAF Forest Protection website at