ON THE SCENE: Wildfires force evacuations in DeSoto Parish

Wildfires force evacuations in DeSoto Parish
It's smoky in Benson, LA: Wildfire "hot spots" continue to flare up - Catuna Oxford Rd
It's smoky in Benson, LA: Wildfire "hot spots" continue to flare up - Catuna Oxford Rd

Evacuations continue in the DeSoto Parish town of Benson, as firefighters battle a fast-moving and dangerous woods and grass fires fueled by wind and dry conditions.  As of early Monday evening, "hot spots" were still flaring up in the area.

While it's not known yet what sparked the blaze, the DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office says it's out of control and has been since early Monday afternoon in the New Benson and Sam Booker Roads area (scroll down for interactive Google map showing location).  Steve Confair, a volunteer with DeSoto Fire District No. 5, says it's jumped the road in several locations and they are fighting to keep it away from nearby structures.  As of early Monday evening, "hot spots" were still flaring up in the area.

So far, there is no word on any property or houses damaged, but more than 20 families have been forced from their homes in the small community south of Mansfield. DeSoto deputies are also helping evacuate some elderly residents and those without transportation.

The forestry service is working with bulldozers to plow a fire line in hopes of cutting off the dry timber and brush feeding the flames. DeSoto Fire District No. 8 has put out a mutual aid request from nearby districts and Sabine Parish.  In addition to the Louisiana Forestry Service, Fire Districts 5, 1 and North Sabine are assisting.

Copyright KSLA-TV 2011. All rights reserved.