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Commissioner Strain urges safe debris burning

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The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Seal

Baton Rouge, La. (March 12, 2021) – As the mercury rises and folks work to clean up downed trees and debris caused by hurricanes and ice storms, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner, Mike Strain, D.V.M., is urging citizens to use caution when burning storm debris.

“Every corner of the state has experienced its fair share of severe weather which resulted in massive amounts of downed trees and debris,” Strain said. “With the recent mild weather, a lot of citizens are out working to remove storm debris from property.”

Debris fires can quickly get out of hand. Strain said, “Should you decide to burn debris, be sure to take the necessary safety precautions to prevent a debris fire from escaping and threatening life and property.”

Strain has some safety tips for debris burning:

· Always check your local city/parish ordinances and fire authorities to be sure outdoor burning is permissible.

· Check the weather forecast. Also, check your local fire danger rating. Postpone the burn on dry, windy days or if changes in weather are predicted.

· Before burning, establish a perimeter around the burn barrel or debris pile. The perimeter should be at least five feet wide around burn barrels, wider around brush piles and cleared of any flammable material down to bare soil.

· Don’t leave burn piles unattended. Monitor with the fire until it is completely extinguished.

· Keep water and hand tools like shovels, rakes on hand to extinguish any embers or sparks that escape the perimeter. Should the fire escape, call 9-1-1 immediately.

“Debris fires can quickly get out of hand,” Strain said. “Remember you are ultimately responsible for the fire and consequences.”

For fire danger ratings in Louisiana, go to https://www.ldaf.state.la.us/daily-fire-weather/

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