POSTED: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 8:14am
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 8:17am
Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said a Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) District One wildland firefighter received minor injuries combating a 258-acre wildland fire in Webster and Bossier parishes on Sunday, Sept. 19.
The employee was treated at a local hospital emergency room for minor burns and was back at work on Monday, Strain said.
District One is based in Haughton.
The fire is suspected to have been caused by an outdoor trash fire in Webster Parish that spread out of control, LDAF forestry investigators said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The fire eventually consumed 258-acres of a ten-year-old pine plantation.
Strain said 13 LDAF personnel operating one fire-detecting aircraft and four tractor-plow units responded to the emergency call about 12:10 p.m. LDAF crews contained the fire nine hours later.
Strain said no homes or structures were damaged by the fire, but the burn line came within 850 feet of a mobile home park near Doyline.
“It’s been very hot and dry lately so it’s extremely important to be cautious when burning outdoors,” Strain said. “Fires can easily flame out of control under these conditions and do a lot of damage to property and forest investments.”
LDAF Forest Protection Branch officials estimated the fire cost more than $6,000 to contain.
Since the beginning of the year, 1,396 fires have burned more than 13,524 acres of wildland, LDAF Forestry statistics show.
September’s LDAF fire report indicates that 135 fires have already burned more than 1,069 acres.
Strain said large areas of Louisiana are measuring more than 600 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI). A link to the KDBI website is listed on the LDAF website at www.ldaf.state.la.us . The KDBI measures soil moisture levels to an eight-inch depth and indicates the dryness of a land area.
“Any area over 600 on the KBDI map is very susceptible to wildfire,” Strain said. “All caution should be used when planning a controlled burn, outdoor cookout or using any outdoor flame.”