Hot, dry summer sets stage for increased wildfire threat

Fire chief predicts the potential could be as bad as it was in 2011, which he says was a very dry year

More burn bans issued as wildfire threat increases

(KSLA) — As if the hot, dry conditions this summer weren’t challenging enough, those same factors could make the next season even worse.

We’re talking about the wildfire season, which can be dangerous with such tinderbox condition.

Flames and smoke still could be easily spotted Monday from a weekend grass and woods fire not far off Jefferson Paige Road just outside west Shreveport.

Neighbors Harold Agee and Harold Barrow said they weren’t about to see their homes overrun by approaching flames.

“I was raking over there. The fire, it seemed to be spreading back toward the houses. And so I just kind of pulled the flames back,” Barrow said, recalling how he took action.

Caddo Parish is not under a burn ban at the moment.

But Caddo Fire District 3 Fire Chief Ernest Mitchell expects a ban soon, especially with no appreciable rain in the forecast.

“Do not light anything on fire without calling your local fire department first to see if they’re allowing burning that day,” he advises residents.

Mitchell explained, for example, how burning was not allowed Monday in Greenwood because of the hot, windy conditions.

As for the days and weeks ahead, Mitchell made a grim forecast of his own.

“Potential to be bad. I mean, 2011 was a very dry year. We were extremely busy, especially up around Oil City and Blanchard. That potential is coming this year. There’s no rain in the forecast, so the danger is coming.”

Mitchell said they’ll use everything at their disposal, from trained personnel to the latest tools available, if such fires break out.

One of those tools is a UTV a local company donated to the Fire Department six years ago.

It allows fire crews to go deeper into the woods, spray with much more strength to put out flames and features other bells and whistles that make their efforts that much more effective.

Back at the still-smoldering weekend fire, Barrow has promised his daughter no more fighting a fire solo again with his trusted rake.

He’ll leave it to the pros.

There's no worry about any kind of burn ban in the city of Shreveport.

That’s because you must have a permit before you burn anything inside the city limits.

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