Mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect for several Louisiana communities on Saturday as efforts to combat the Tiger Island fire continue in the Beauregard community.
On Saturday, the Forest Service reported that containment remains at around 50% but is improving.
According to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office, 12 residential buildings were destroyed by the fire, but no injuries or fatalities were reported.
More than 30,000 acres have been burning since local fire departments, volunteers and the National Guard began fighting the blaze that broke out Tuesday morning.
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The first mandatory evacuations for parts of Singer, Louisiana, were conducted on Wednesday, and evacuation orders were issued for other communities in the following days.
“It’s burning very hard,” said Mike Strain, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner. “It’s moving pretty fast and you can feel the air getting fresher. That comes from the heat of the fire sucking air into the fire.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he has dispatched 89 firefighters, paramedics and emergency management personnel, as well as emergency resources to Louisiana to help fight the devastating wildfires currently burning near the Texas-Louisiana border and throughout the Pelican State.
“Texas has deployed firefighters, emergency response personnel and resources to help our Louisiana neighbors respond to devastating wildfires,” Abbott said. “Just as the state of Louisiana offered its support and assistance six years ago during Hurricane Harvey, Texas is rapidly providing our neighbors with the personnel and resources they need to fight these devastating wildfires in their state.”
“Biggest fire hazard” since 2000
More than 30,000 acres burned in the Tiger Island fire. Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Air tankers and helicopters drop water and fire retardants on the fire. Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
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High temperatures, drought and variable winds prompted the NWS to issue a fire weather warning through Friday night for critical to extreme fire weather conditions.
“This is rapidly becoming the largest fire hazard this area has experienced since the summer of 2000,” the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office warned. “In these conditions, fires can spread quickly.”
Firefighters not only face flames, they also face extreme heat.
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Merryville peaked at 109 on Thursday. Humid conditions saw the temperature sit at 118C, according to the NWS.
The Department of Forestry reported that containment remains at around 50%. Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
“It’s hot. The fire is hot. “It’s 109 degrees out here and you can feel the heat and the intensity of the fire so far away,” Strain said from the command post.
Firefighters are trying to put down the fire to stop it from spreading
Tanker planes and helicopters are dropping water and fire retardants on the fire to try to extinguish the blaze from the treetops, where containing the flames is very difficult, Strain said.
“It leaps across a road and when it’s scorching hot and high in the trees it throws a field of debris into the air,” Strain said on social media. “They’ve already found embers burning 20 miles away on this fire.”
Twelve residential buildings were destroyed by the fire, but no injuries or fatalities were reported. Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
State officials across the media appealed to the public to comply with incineration bans.
“Everyone out here, every man and woman out here that is burning out here is putting their lives on the line to save the community, their families and the property here,” Strain added.
The struggle for water pressure
Nearly 360 wildfires have broken out in Louisiana so far this August.Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
Water pressure posed another challenge for firefighters, according to the sheriff, as neighbors tried to help by using their personal water hoses to fight the fire.
However, this reduced the water pressure and the amount of water for the actual firefighters.
“People in the community attempting to use their personal water hoses to fight fires are severely hampering efforts to provide on-site fire departments with firefighting water,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post. “Volume and pressure have become a BIG issue.”
Nearly 360 wildfires have broken out across the state so far in August.