The Morehouse Parish Police Jury on Thursday joined a growing number of parish governments in the region by issuing a burn ban due to dry conditions and long-range forecasts calling for little rainfall and high winds.
Police Jury president Terry Matthews issued the ban after talking with his colleagues and firefighters from throughout the parish.
“There have been recent incidents near Oak Ridge and Mer Rouge, so I talked with all the fire chiefs Wednesday,” Matthew said. “After talking with other members of the jury, we felt it was best to go ahead and put this in place.”
Earlier this week, the Lincoln Parish and West Carroll Parish police juries also issued burn bans. On Monday, Louisiana Fire Marshall Butch Browning issued a statewide burn advisory.
Data from the National Weather Service shows that over the last 30 days, most of northeast Louisiana has received less than 50 percent of the normal average rainfall. Looking specifically at Morehouse Parish, projections show areas west of U.S. 425, which is heavily forested, has received less than 50 percent of the normal average going back over a 90-day period. The seven-day forecast from the National Weather Service shows no chance of rainfall through next Wednesday.
While the burn ban is in place, the Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office can issue citations to individuals or businesses who are burning trash or debris in areas where it is normally permitted.
Laura Linday, a spokesman with the Louisiana Department of Forestry Office of Forestry said even with a burn ban in place that there are provisions in state law – which applies to local burn bans – that allow farmers to burn fields provided they have received prior approval.
In issuing the burn advisory earlier this week, Browning said asked residents statewide to delay burning debris.
"Our state has experienced an excessive number of out of control brush fires directly related to the intentional burning of trash and debris," Browning said.