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Five wildfires have occurred in Grant Parish in March

Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain believes fires are the cause of arson
Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 8:11 PM CDT
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GRANT PARISH, LA. (KALB) - Multiple wildfires have occurred in Grant Parish this month which have caused damage to properties and even threatened some homes.

Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain said over the last 18 days, five separate wildfires have affected the parish.

“The fires have burned hundreds and hundreds of acres of timber in Grant Parish that we believe were at the hands of an arsonist,” said Sheriff McCain.

One fire stretched over 734 acres that came within 100 yards of a house and also came close to Grant High School. Chris Ledoux, a Law Enforcement Officer for the U.S. Forest Service, says Highway 167 is what stopped the fire from spreading to the school.

Three homes have been threatened by the wildfires and one family had to be evacuated from their home. The family was able to return to their house that same evening after the fire was contained.

A second fire burned over 100 acres of timber and was within a foot of getting into the Trunkline Gas Compressor Station. The fire was finally contained after the U.S. Forestry Service and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry set up a bulldozer fire line.

Jeff Zeringue, the media specialist for the Louisiana Forestry Association, said, “The fires are bad for the community and the economy. The timber industry and forest industry in Grant Parish are vital to the parish’s economy.”

Christina Henderson is the District Ranger for the Catahoula Ranger District and said residents have been concerned if any of these fires were an escaped prescribed fire. Henderson says that’s not the case and prescribed fires should only be carried on if there are trained professionals to plan, execute and monitor the fires in a safe way.

“Prescribed fires only happen if we are within certain guidelines. During prescribed fires, we are able to have fire personnel in locations to monitor and respond accordingly if fire behavior changes,” said Henderson. “Bad fires, such as the recent arson fires, are completely unpredictable, which can lead to significant damages to resources and property and can threaten people’s lives.”

The Forestry Association has offered a $2,000 reward for information that would lead to an arrest in connection with the wildfires. If you have any information and want to send a news tip, click here.

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