Louisiana is currently facing a catastrophic wildfire crisis, with the highest number of fires in August that the state has ever seen.
In recent weeks, Louisiana has experienced an alarming increase in wildfires. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has confirmed that from August 1 to August 24, 441 fires have broken out across the state, destroying 8,385 acres of land.
This figure does not include the extensive wildfire on Tiger Island which is estimated to have burned over 20,000 acres.
In Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, state and local officials are facing the largest fire in the state’s history.
The Tiger Island Fire has reportedly burned an estimated 15,000 acres (6,070 hectares) and covers approximately 23 square miles (60 square kilometers).
As of Friday evening, there were at least six active fires in Livingston, Sabine, Vernon, and Beauregard Parishes. The rapid spread of these fires has overwhelmed state and local officials, who are now dealing with multiple fire incidents simultaneously.
“This is unprecedented. We’ve never had to fight this many fires simultaneously and at this duration. We’re fighting between 25 and 30 (wildfires) today,” Mike Strain, the commissioner for Louisiana’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry, said during a press conference Friday.
“It’s burning very intensely. It’s moving pretty fast, and you can feel the air picking up. That’s from the heat of the fire sucking air into the fire,” he added.
In response to the dangerous fire, state officials in Louisiana have issued a burn ban for the affected towns in southwestern Louisiana.
This ban prohibits any type of burning activity in an effort to contain the fire and prevent further damage.
The current situation is concerning for residents of Merryville and other towns near the border.
State officials have taken swift action by issuing a mandatory evacuation order and a burn ban, but it remains to be seen if this will be enough to control the situation.
Damn, Louisiana on fire 🔥 too 🤔 pic.twitter.com/ZE5tHFKvDk
— MrDaddy (@therealmrdaddy1) August 26, 2023
The largest fire in Louisiana state history continues burning along with hundreds of fires along the Gulf Coast. Triple-digit temperatures are making it difficult for firefighters battling the flames. pic.twitter.com/85Vr8LaGu2
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) August 25, 2023
This was the #TigerIslandFire last night in SW Louisiana. The fire grew to 14k acres, prompting evacuations! The fire was named for the hunting club it started near but the cause is under investigation. Thankfully it is now 85% contained but the fire danger is still HIGH in… pic.twitter.com/HPgF7UyX4Y
— Updates (@sirfupdate) August 25, 2023
Entire Town of Merryville, Louisiana are under mandatory evacuation as a dangerous sudden fire approaches. pic.twitter.com/qw38D1DWhE
— Shadow of Ezra (@ShadowofEzra) August 24, 2023
More from FOX Weather:
According to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office, containment decreased from 85% to 50% by Friday morning due to constantly shifting wind conditions and the dry conditions of the vegetation. By Friday evening, the Forestry Department reported that containment stood slightly above 50%. The area of concentration was east of the town of Merryville, which lies close to the Louisiana-Texas border.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he has deployed 89 firefighters, paramedics and emergency management personnel along with emergency response resources to Louisiana to help combat the devastating wildfires currently burning near the Texas-Louisiana border and across the Pelican State.
High temperatures, drought and variable winds prompted the NWS to issue a Fire Weather Warning through Friday night for critical to extreme fire weather conditions.
“This is rapidly becoming the biggest fire danger threat this area has had since the summer of 2000,” the National Weather Service office in Lake Charles office warned. “Fires can spread rapidly in these conditions.”
Read more here.