Several Cenla parishes lift statewide burn ban

Five Cenla parishes have opted out of the burn ban, based on recent cooler and rainy weather conditions.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:25 PM CST
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The National Weather Service has announced that due to recent rains, fire danger is now considered “below normal” in our area. Since then, five Cenla parishes have opted out of the burn ban, based on recent cooler and rainy weather conditions.

On Nov. 16, the Rapides Parish Police Jury announced that Rapides Parish will join Avoyelles, Grant, Natchitoches and Vernon Parish, who have already lifted their burn bans.

“From watching the weather for several days and stuff, we saw the ground was starting to get damp and everything. We had a light rain moving into the area and stuff,” said Joe Bishop, president of the Rapides Parish Police Jury.

Bishop said the police jury reached out to each fire department in the parish and gave the residents of Rapides Parish the green light.

“They felt comfortable to go ahead and lift the burn ban at this time,” Bishop said.

Lifting the ban allows for outdoor cooking and fires, but Rapides Parish residents MUST contact their local fire department PRIOR to burning any large piles of debris. Bishop said lifting the burn ban is a precaution for Rapides residents.

On Nov. 15, the Kisatchie National Forest revised their fire restrictions, which permit campfires in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds only in forest service-provided manufactured fire grates.

“As most people know, this has been a very severe drought year for Louisiana, for Kisatchie National Forest,” said Jonny Fryar, District Ranger for Calcasieu Ranger District of Kisatchie National Forest. “In fact, the worst I’ve ever seen. And we’ve had some pretty severe wildfires this year.”

Fryar said the most important thing to keep in mind is awareness.

“The ground is still extremely dry, and the trees are still extremely dry,” Fryar said. “So, the moisture, even though we’ve had a little, is not where it should be. You could still have a pretty significant wildfire, and we’re just trying to prevent that.”

The new restrictions allow for gas-fueled stoves, lanterns, grills and heating devices, but they must have a functional on-and-off switch.

However, residents in Central Louisiana are urged to continue to use caution and discretion when burning and be aware that the burn ban could be reinstated in any parish if conditions change.

“Just because we lifted the burn ban, you know, the burn ban’s been in effect for several months. Just don’t want people just trying to burn up their entire yard and everything and catching the national forest on fire and stuff, and go back to what we had with the wildfires going on,” said Bishop.

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