BATON ROUGE, La. - A statewide burn ban of all private burning will be in place beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday until rescinded, State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning and Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain announced Tuesday.
He further clarified in a Facebook post on Wednesday that barbecue pits, fire pits and small campfires are permitted during the burn ban when used for brief, recreational purposes. Placing brush materials into a fire pit to burn away for extended periods of time is not.
The containment method of the fire is not the exception, but rather the use is, Browning said.
“This burn ban is necessary to supplement the governor’s stay home order aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 due to the anticipation that there may be an increase in open burning occurring across the state as families look for ways to pass the time at home,” said Browning, “This order will assist in preventing potential fire-related dangers that could result in unnecessary fire service response as well as diminish airborne irritants caused by burning.”
Private burning will only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government, Browning said.
And at least two DeSoto fire districts are giving that permission. DeSoto Fire District No. 1 in Logansport and DeSoto Fire District 8 are temporarily lifting the burn ban, allowing residents who live within those district to burn as normal. Fire officials said anyone who wants to burn should call 888-600-2876 to get a burn permit, which is free of charge.
"We feel as if the grass is green enough and we have had plenty of rain," District 1 states on its Facebook page.
Added District 8: "This ban was put in place by the State Fire Marshal's Office to help free up firefighter's resources throughout the state of Louisiana. Even though as of right now, DeSoto Parish is seeing COVID-19 cases increase, there is not at this time a burden on the responders in DFD8 response area. If the burden does present itself due to medical responses or personnel issues related to COVID-19 outbreak, we may have to reissue the ban."
This ban does not apply to prescribed burns by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, by those trained and certified by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, or by those who conduct prescribed burning as a “generally accepted agriculture practice” as defined by the Louisiana Right to Farm Law.
Violation could result in criminal and/or civil penalties, Browning said.