<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Wednesday,  July 17 , 2024

Linkedin Pinterest
News / Nation & World

Louisiana plagued by wildfires as largest active blaze grows

By Associated Press
Published: August 29, 2023, 4:46pm

BATON ROUGE, La. — One of the largest wildfires in Louisiana history continues to burn through land and threaten rural communities, which are used to flooding and hurricanes this time of year rather than drought and blazes.

Louisiana has had an unprecedented wildfire season as dry conditions and extreme heat persist. The rapid spread of fires has been made worse by pine plantation forests, blown down by recent hurricanes, fueling the blazes. This month alone, there have been about 600 wildfires across the state, and officials say there will likely be more in the weeks ahead.

“This is not done. We expect a dry September. So we got to be prepared for this and all work together until the rain comes … and then we can get back to life,” Mike Strain, the commissioner for Louisiana’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry, said during a news conference Tuesday.

The state’s largest active blaze, the Tiger Island Fire in southwestern Louisiana, doubled in size over the weekend, growing to 33,000 acres — accounting for more acres of burned land than the state usually has in an entire year. As of Tuesday morning, the fire was 50 percent contained.

The wildfire forced the entire town of Merryville — a rural area just five miles east of the Texas border, with a population of 1,200 people — to evacuate. No injuries or deaths have been reported, but at least 20 structures, including barns and homes, have been damaged or destroyed.

More than a thousand fire personnel, some sent from Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas, fought wildfires across the state Tuesday, which also marked 18 years since Hurricane Katrina.

Loading...