Lafayette

Dec 17, 2013 11:15 PM by Erin Steuber

Field Fires are Getting Too Close for Comfort for Some

As we've reported, viewers have been reaching out to us about the thick plumes of smoke visible for miles around Acadiana. They aren't major fires, but instead controlled-sugar cane burns. But some residents living near the fields say the flames have been getting too close for comfort.

The video is unbelievable, from a distance, it looks like an inferno is taking over an entire neighborhood. Smoke so thick it blocks the sun. Ash raining rom the sky. Flames raging just feet from the wooden fence surrounding the Brock Pointe subdivision.

"It was too close for comfort. How do you explain that to your young children when we cant even explain it ourselves," said resident Stacey Judice.

The subdivison was built about 4 years ago, and until this year, residents say sugar cane has never been burned.

"It was just very strange because we've never seen the burning, smelled the burning, seen the ashes," said neighbor Suzy Daigle. "You know it's something we think we would have noticed, even if they would have done it for a few hours when we aren't home."

The flames reached high above the 7 foot fences, and for the past two days it's been the view from more than 2 dozen homes.

"You know there has to be some things in place to protect the homeowners also that are next to a sugar cane field," said Judice.

One homeowner says the flames even singed the grass in the her backyard. While the farmers are completely within their rights, the neighborhood is hoping something can be done to better protect homeowners from the risk.

"Nothing against Louisiana farmers. Nothing against sugar cane. It's a little respect. We respect your fields. You don't have anyone from our neighborhood going with their four wheelers, or running through your sugar cane and so on. So how about a little respect for us. Just notify us and let us know," said Judice.

Last month, a KATC investigation on this topic, The Air We Breathe, revealed there is no government agency regulating the burning of cane fields. It's completely up to the farmers themselves to ensure they are burning the fields safely, and responsibly. Doctors also told us they see more patients with respiratory issues this time of year.

 

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