BATON ROUGE — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness held a Unified Command Group meeting and activated the State Emergency Operations Center in response to hundreds of wildfires impacting the state and the threat of more fires spreading due to prolonged drought and extreme heat conditions.
“The briefing I received this morning underscores the seriousness of the wildfire threat we currently face across the state,” said Gov. Edwards. “While we are urgently responding to the current situation in Beauregard Parish, our first responders have been fighting an unprecedented number of wildfires throughout the state. Unfortunately, many of these fires could have been prevented if Louisianans were adhering to the statewide burn ban and practicing fire safety. We need everyone to do their part in order to prevent further fires with potentially tragic outcomes. This means adhering to the statewide burn ban, properly disposing of cigarettes, securing tow chains, and being extra careful to avoid any outdoor activities that involve lighting a fire.”
“State agencies will review support requests from our local partners and do everything reasonably possible to assist them in their response,” said GOHSEP Director Casey Tingle. “Wildfires in Beauregard Parish have grown tremendously over the past 24 hours. Emergency officials have ordered evacuations near Merryville and a significant area has been impacted. It is extremely important that the public adhere to the burn ban. Crews fighting these fires are becoming strained due to the ongoing problems. We all play a role in preventing additional fires.”
Weather experts say this has been the hottest, driest summer to date for many areas creating unprecedented fire conditions. Last week, Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency due to extreme heat and drought conditions. The governor, GOHSEP and state agencies continue to be in constant contact with local governments and are coordinating resources as needs arise.
Find more tips on weather and preparedness on GOHSEP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. The Get A Game Plan App is another resource available to help you and your family prepare for any type emergency. You download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.