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Strain urges caution while wildfire danger is high

October 7, 2011

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said abnormally high wildland fire danger conditions are expected for the next few days.
“Weather forecasters have predicted temperatures in the 90s, low relative humidity and increased winds that will make conditions ripe for dangerous wildfires,” Strain said.
Parishes currently under outdoor burning ban orders include: Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula, Claiborne, Desoto, Evangeline, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, LaSalle, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Point Coupee, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, St. Landry, Union, Vermilion, Vernon, Webster and Winn.
“Since there will be a lot of hunters and others enjoying the outdoors this weekend, residents who live in the wildland urban interface area should follow common sense wildfire prevention tips,” Strain said. 
·                    Clear excessive vegetation and fuel such as pine needles and dry leaves at least 30 feet away fromyour home and other structures.
·                    Avoid installing dry mulch-covered flowerbeds and gardens in direct contact with your home or other valuable outdoor structures. 
·                    Avoid parking vehicles or equipment on dry grass.
·                    Re-fuel machinery in areas void of vegetation.
·                    Practice extra caution when fire danger is high.
“In the event of a wildfire, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry(LDAF)wildland firefighting crews stand ready to take action,” Strain said. “Our surveillance planes fly routes daily looking for smoke from wildfires. Any fire outbreaks are immediately reported to ground crews. The LDAF also employs bulldozers to plow firebreaks which help to contain wildfires.” 
Strain said the LDAF should be notified of any emergency involving wildfire, pesticides and animal health.
“The LDAF is the lead state agency for the detection and suppression of wildfires,” Strain said. “Call the LDAF immediately if you suspect a wildfire is beginning to burn. The emergency hotline number is 1-855-452-5323.”
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 suppression, the office works closely with local, state, and federal partners to ensure life and property are protected from the threat of wildfires.