RED RIVER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A large and rapidly moving brush and woods fire between Coushatta and Martin in Red River Parish destroyed one home Thursday and forced the evacuation of 10 to 15 more.
"Dug a trench around it, but evidently the fire jumped the trench, and it burned the house down, there were 4 little kids in there, but they got the kids out safely," said Reginald Prelow, who owns the destroyed home.
The blaze broke out in a wooded area north of Highway 155 and Highway 71 along St. Mary's Church Road on Thursday afternoon, prompting the evacuation of residents on Carrol Creek Rd., Evans Rd. and Clear Springs Church Rd. in the Martin community.
The Grand Bayou Reservoir Resort Event Center has been designated as the evacuation point for those who have had to leave their homes.
Red River Parish is one of the few in the state that does not have multiple fire districts. Every firetruck in the parish was on the scene Thursday, and mutual aid from Natchitoches Parish Fire District 9, Bienville fire districts 4 & 5, The Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry, along with the Red River Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
"Glad to say no one was hurt and everyone got out okay, and I just hope and pray that the fire moves in another direction," said Prelow.
Multiple agencies jumped in to battle the flames as the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry plowed fire lines to protect homes.
"The coordination of all these agencies saved many homes tonight, this afternoon," said Red River Parish Sheriff Glen Edwards.
90 percent of the fire was under control as of late Thursday night, but firefighters are still keeping an eye on the flames.
"We're scaling back, but we are going to have to be watching this all night," said Edwards.
Firefighters are preparing for the winds to pick up as a cold front comes through Friday morning. When that happens, the flames are expected to jump the fire lines once again.
At least one firefighter was taken to the hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion. No other injuries were reported.
Once again, the American Red Cross is rushing to the aid of first responders and people evacuated from their homes. Volunteers are providing meals, snacks and water at the fire staging area. The Red Cross remains on standby for a reception center. So far, no shelter has been requested from them.