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Natchitoches wildfire contained

September 3, 2011

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said that firefighting crews contained a Natchitoches Parish wildfire that burned through the night. The fire, dubbed the TD13 Fire by crews, was  contained around 11:00 a.m. after wildland firefighting crews surrounded the blaze and used bulldozers to clear a path and create a fireline which contained it.

“Rainfall in the area from Tropical Storm Lee helped to create favorable firefighting conditions,” Strain said. He added, “The rain didn’t put out the fire but it really helped to cool things down and increase the humidity. Crews will remain on the scene to monitor our firelines.”

The fire was first reported near the Ashland and Creston communities to the LDAF Natchitoches office around 1:45 p.m., Sept. 2, and LDAF firefighting crews were immediately dispatched.
Sixteen crews, 11 from the LDAF and five from the USFS, worked through the night installing firelines. Ten residences and several out buildings in the area were destroyed.

Estimates on the size of the fire are pending and will be determined when weather conditions allow a LDAF reconnaissance flight to get in the air with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping equipment.

State Forester Wade Dubea said forestry investigators are on the scene gathering data to determine the cause of the blaze. In addition to the 16 bulldozer and engine crews, three LDAF aircraft, a USFS Type 3 helicopter and two single engine air tankers (SEATS) assisted in the operation. Two Louisiana National Guard Blackhawk helicopters were available but not needed.

LDAF crews from Natchitoches, Winn, Jackson, Bienville, LaSalle, Red River and Evangeline parishes fought the fire with along with USFS crews from Kisatchie National Forest.
Strain said elements from the USFS, local fire departments, local area officials, Louisiana National Guard, Natchitoches and Winn parish offices of emergency preparedness and Red Cross all gave assistance. “We’re grateful to all the agencies that helped us with this fire,” Strain said. “The U.S. Forest Service’s aid was extremely helpful.”

The Fire Protection Branch within LDAF is dedicated to providing fire protection for Louisiana’s forestland owners. As the state’s lead agency charged with forest fire protection, the office works closely with local, state, and federal partners to ensure life and property are protected from the threat of wildfires.