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Dry conditions spark burn bans, fire safety awareness - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Dry conditions spark burn bans, fire safety awareness

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SFD demonstrates a controlled burn of dry brush at training academy SFD demonstrates a controlled burn of dry brush at training academy
SHREVEPORT, La. -

9,326,238 - that's how many acres were lost to wildfires across the nation last year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

KTBS 3 News asked the Shreveport Fire Department to set up a controlled burn at their training academy.

The goal of the exercise was to illustrate how little it takes to spark a fire, and how quickly dry brush can go up in flames.

That controlled burn only took 4 minutes to carve a charred circle in the grass about 7 feet in diameter, and on a dry day with less humidity, fire officials say you can expect flames to travel much faster.

"The big thing is the amount of fuel that's available to burn and trying to remove that amount of fuel from where the fire is progressing to," says SFD Chief Safety Officer Scott Wolverton.

He says some ignition sources are out of our control, but intentionally burning trash or lighting outside fires during a burn ban is simply unacceptable.

"Controlling those ignition sources will help control the outside burns that are occurring."

In respose to the devastating East Texas wildfires of 2011, the Shreveport Fire Department purchased two brush trucks.

These smaller trucks can go where the heavier fire engines often cannot.

Without the brush trucks, the department would have to call in back-up to fight major fires, putting a strain on resources in other districts.

Wolverton says during the drought of 2011, over 300 acres were consumed by fire inside the Shreveport city limits.

He says 116 acres were destroyed in 2012, and so far this year, 107 acres have burned in Shreveport.

Burn bans cover much of the Ark-La-Tex at this time. Here are the latest:

Texas counties: Franklin, Camp, Upshur, Marion, Harrison, Gregg, Panola, Rusk, Shelby, Nacogdoches, San Augustine and Sabine

Oklahoma counties: none

Arkansas counties: none

Louisiana parishes: southern Caddo (districts 3, 4, 5 and 6...Greenwood, Keithville and Ellerbe Rd.), De Soto and Lake Bistineau lake bed.

Outdoor burning is prohibited until further notice in these areas.

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