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Ouachita Parish Enters Burn Ban

What are the Dos and Don'ts of a burn ban?
OUACHITA PARISH -- It's no secret to anyone in Northeast Louisiana.

This blistering summer sun is turning green grasses into dry kindling.

"August was one of the driest months we've had on record,"said Curt Meachum, Chief of Fire Prevention for the Ouachita Parish Fire Department. "We have lower humidities than normal right now. We have a big, higher pressure sitting on us and it's just susceptible for a fire getting out of control."

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury voted Monday morning to impose a burn ban in the parish. Ouachita joins nine other parishes in the region in burn bans.

So what can and can't you do under a burn ban?

You can still grill responsibly, but burning outdoors now comes with some big rules.

No burning garbage.

No burning leaves.

You can't even throw a burning cigarette out the car window.

Responsible burning under a burn ban also applies to burning fields or farmland, but for those farmers who want to burn their fields, Ouachita Parish firefighters said there are permits you can apply for.

"Through the Department of Agriculture and Forestry as well as the Department of Environmental Quality, you can get a permit to burn in certain situations," said Meachum.

Firefighters said they will be on the watch for any irresponsible blazes burning and those who caused them could face punishment.

"We're going to send fire trucks out and we're going to put it out and you could receive a citation, up to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail," Meachum said.

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office said they will also be patrolling for fires, assisting the fire department.

The sheriff's office said once a burn ban goes into effect, they are also given the authority to give a citation.



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