State officials issue ban on private burning

Staff reports

Because of extremely dry conditions state officials issued a cease and desist order for all private burning effective Monday and until they rescind it.

Private burning will only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government, according to the order issued by State Fire Marshal Butch Browning and Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain.

This ban will not apply to prescribed burns by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, by those trained and certified by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, or by those who conduct prescribed burning as a “generally accepted agriculture practice” as defined by the Louisiana Right to Farm Law.

According to the agriculture department, the ban was put into place after its firefighting crews responded to more than 60 wildland fires on Friday and Saturday. An estimated 1,850 acres of forest land was burned over the two-day period.

The department's fire reports for August-September period indicate 407 wildland fires burned more than 3,458 acres within the state. During the same period of 2009, 56 fires burned 152 acres. The 2010 figures represent a 726 percent increase in wildland fires and a 2,270 percent increase in acreage burned.