BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– Southeast Louisiana and parts of Mississippi are under a red flag warning as of Wednesday, September 28.
People are being asked not to engage in open burning due to current weather conditions.
BRPROUD’s Chief Meteorologist Ashley Ruiz said, “We’ve had some pretty dry times in October and our temperatures are starting to fall. Rain totals usually aren’t outrageous.”
Louisiana is known for its rain and humid days, but according to Ruiz, the start of Louisiana’s fall might bring the opposite weather conditions.
“Fall is all about change. We’re going from the hot summer months and then getting closer to the colder months,” she explained. ” And so October can be on the dry side, at least historically and climatological. We’ve had some pretty dry times in October and so our temperatures are starting to fall. Rain rain totals usually aren’t outrageous unless we have a big system or a hurricane.”
State Fire Marshal Public Affairs Director, Ashley Rodrigue said these kinds of weather conditions make it easy for things to quickly get out of control.
“We had this wonderful weather move through and drop our humidity levels down, which of course dries things out, and then there’s this hurricane out in the Gulf and that is sending some extra wind, pretty strong winds through our area,” stated Rodrigue.
She said five people have died this year alone as a result of open burning accidents.
The Fire Marshal’s Offices defines open burning as “setting fire to any trees, branches, grass, leaves, brush, or debris by private property owners for non-commercial purposes.”
The most recent victim was a 67-year-old Heflin man.
“Now a fifth one this year, we don’t ever see them at all. So to have five in a year’s time is just really stunning,” said Rodrigue.
Unfortunate events like this are why leaders are waving the red flag.
“If everyone can just take a break, not do any open burning for about a week, that would be very helpful,” she said. “We’re just asking everybody to just be aware, be aware, be considerate, be smart.”
To stay safe, officials suggest locals follow the tips below:
• Ensure weather conditions, including wind speed and direction, are safe for burning
• Establish a burn pile at least 75 feet from any structures
• Create a 5-foot wet control line around the area
• Avoid the use of flammable liquids to ignite a burn pile
• Remain vigilant over the fire with a water source nearby at all times
• Alert a loved one or neighbor of your activities or conduct them with help
• If the fire does get out of control, call 911.