Jun 17, 2011 9:05 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's agriculture and forestry commissioner says wildlands left crackling dry by drought are burning in large numbers.
Mike Strain says his department has put out 197 wildfires in the first half of June, compared to 91 for all of June 2010.
He says the fires burned 4,000 acres of wildland and commercial forests. Investigators are working overtime to learn whether they're caused by arson.
State Forester Wade Dubea said arson is suspected in a fire that burned more than 691 acres of timber worth an estimated $250,000 on Sunday, and two more fires in the same area on Monday.
Strain said a statewide burn ban will remain in place until further notice.