ASCENSION PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) — Over 100 firefighters from eight different fire departments are battling acres of fires in Ascension Parish, just over a week after they started.
Chief James LeBlanc, who works as the parish’s safety director, said more than 120 acres of land are burning as of Monday, Sept. 18.
Parish President Clint Cointment declared a state of emergency on Sunday, allowing for necessary resources and assets to be used to fight fires.
LeBlanc said bulldozers and excavators have been used to build roads in thick wooded areas through the 160-acre track. He said the acreage of the fires has made it “difficult” to control. Grass fire trucks, brush fire trucks and ATVs are being used to combat flames.
With the equipment and roads being built, LeBlanc said officials feel they are on the “other side of the fence” in the battle against fires.
The fires reportedly started Sunday, Sept. 10. Since then, the blaze has gotten close to one neighborhood in the Galvez community. Residents of 10-15 homes were ordered to evacuate Sunday, Sept. 17 and directed to shelter at Lamar Dixon Expo Center, LeBlanc said.
Residents were able to return to their homes the same night. LeBlanc said volunteer fire crews stayed out all night to monitor area homes.
The state’s forestry commission has been in contact with parish officials.
LeBlanc reminds residents that the statewide burn ban remains in effect.
Gov. John Bel Edwards posted on X Monday, “All parts of Louisiana are abnormally dry, with many regions facing exceptional drought. These conditions continue to make the danger of wildfires extremely high. Please do your part to protect our state and adhere to the burn ban.”