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UPDATE: Burn restrictions still in effect in Acadia Parish; check before burning

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Posted at 3:37 PM, Oct 03, 2023

Last week Acadia Parish officials had asked to opt out of the burn ban, but as of today it appears restrictions are still in place.

Here's the bottom line: As of Friday, burn restrictions remain in Acadia Parish. If you want to burn something, you need to call your local fire department to see if it's OK. Some departments are not allowing any burning at all; for instance the Iota Fire District is not allowing any private burning at all.

The confusion started last week.

In a letter dated September 27, the police jury had requested that the parish opt-out of the state burn ban. But a couple days later, on September 29, this message appeared on the police jury's Facebook page:

"Effective September 29, 2023 at 5:00 pm ... The August 25, 2023 Burn Ban Order is modified to allow for private burning, but ONLY upon permission of the LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT or LOCAL GOVERNMENT. This modified order is being issued to reduce the risk of fire during the continuation of this extreme dry period.

ACADIA PARISH POLICE JURY has released ALL PERMISSIONS to privately burn at this time to the LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT CHIEFS.

All agricultural burning ban is hereby rescinded EXCEPT for the burning of sugarcane."

But not everyone saw that message. Yesterday, the message below appeared on the Iota Volunteer Fire Department's Facebook page. We double-checked with the chief, who told us that Iota is not allowing any private burns at all.

MISINFORMATION LEADS TO MULTIPLE FIRES!!! BURN BAN IS STILL IN EFFECT!!!
Yesterday, our firefighters responded to multiple incidents at the same time! Around 1045 am, firefighters responded to woods on fire off of Crabapple Road. Firefighters arrived to find approximately 2 acres of ground fires throughout the trees. While containing these fires, we were also dispatched to a medical emergency at the 800 blk of south 5th Street. Firefighters responded to a patient having a medical emergency and were able to assess the patient until the arrival of Acadian Ambulance. As firefighters were assisting AASI with loading the patient to be transported to a hospital, we were dispatched to multiple fires near Rasberry Lane. This makes 2 fire scenes active at the same time. Firefighters responded to find a large pile of wood and trees on fire, along with numerous spot fires across 10 acres. This was extinguished, and crews regrouped to extinguish the woods fire. Not long after clearing from these incidents, firefighters had to respond back to Des Cannes Highway west of town for a burn pile that had re-ignited. This is due to the dry conditions and low internal moisture content of the vegitation.

These fires were the result of statements that Acadia Parish had lifted their burn ban. THE BURN BAN IS STILL IN EFFECT. No issuance will be granted in the Iota Fire Protection District until the dry conditions can be resolved. However, the Statewide Burn Ban has been modified.

Agricultural burning may resume EXCEPT for standing sugarcane. Following consultation among the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM), the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security (GOHSEP), and the National Weather Service (NWS), the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has modified the burn ban order to rescind the prohibition on agricultural burning, EXCEPT for standing sugarcane, effective as of 5:00 p.m., September 27.

This modified burn ban order by LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM, allows agricultural burning, including but not limited to prescribed burning, to resume EXCEPT for standing sugarcane. The burning of sugarcane fields is allowed after harvest. LDAF will post updates regarding the burning of standing sugarcane once conditions improve.

We have been getting questions regarding the agricultural burns of whom gives the permission and whom is liable. In response to those questions, the permission of allowing agricultural burns is regulated on a State Level with the Department of Agriculture and Forestry working in conjunction with the State Fire Marshals office, not the Parish. In the event damage or loss is experienced due to burning, whoever is conducting the burn is absolutely liable for any damage or threats that it causes. This information has been confirmed with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and also the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The Office of Louisiana State Fire Marshal also modified the statewide burn ban re-issued on August 25 to renew and establish certain exceptions. The active burn ban order in effect as of August 25, 2023, at 12 p.m., which prohibits all private burning, with no limitations, pursuant to authority under R.S. 40:1602, is being modified in the following ways:

-Provides for individual parishes to opt out of the statewide burn ban.
-Provides for fire chiefs to resume granting burn permissions. No permissions will be allocated for the Iota FPD.
-Provides for certain live fire training to resume with written permission from the SFM.

The SFM modified order went into effect Friday, September 29, 2023, at 5 p.m. The status of this burn ban order will continue to be reconsidered on a weekly basis.

Please continue to abide by the burn bans that remain in place at this time. As government officials opt out of the statewide burn ban in their respective parishes, LDAF will reflect the updates on the Louisiana Burn Ban Map located at https://louisiana.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html...

Under no circumstances, burn ban or otherwise, is trash allowed to be burned. This violates DEQ Title 33 - Part III AIR - s1109.

Remember that what seems like a "good day to burn" can spread and get out of control in a matter of seconds. A small fire can lead to large tracts of brush, or even acres of woods burning, causing extremely dangerous conditions for the citizens in our community.

AGAIN, THE BURN BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE IOTA FPD UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!!!