Jan 22, 2014 6:40 PM by Akeam Ashford

Volunteer Firefighters Battle Increasing Grass Fires

The State Fire Marshal's office is urging all Louisiana residents to be extremely cautious when setting outdoor fires.

Evangeline Parish is stepping things up, issuing a burn ban effective immediately.

Firefighters across the state say they are responding to a record number of calls.

According to Chief Matthew Trahan of the Maurice Volunteer
Fire Department, his department has battled ten field fires in just the last week.

"People are not paying attention to some of the things that they are doing, which is causing more grass fires in the last three weeks than we've had in the last two years," Trahan said.

Vermilion Parish has a law that says residents cannot burn within 1,000 feet of a standing structure. If you drive through the parish, though, it's not unlikely to see acres of completely burned fields.

"Whether it's one inch tall or very tall to the waist, the grass is dry," Trahan said.

With the increase in grass fires, the all volunteer fire department is stretched thin with the men and women it already has.

"It adds a stress on the family life. If it's day time, and you're leaving your job, where you don't get enough sleep to go do your job in the morning, it adds more stress," Trahan said.

The fire chief says he doesn't see the fires stopping any time soon, so he's taking the time to train his firefighters on what to do in the event of the next fire.

"We continue to learn new things, and train to better our people. An untrained person gets hurt," Trahan said.

According to the State Fire Marshal's Office, open burning of certain materials is prohibited in the state.

The department says some of the things that should never be burned include the following:
-plastic and other synthetic materials
-tires and other rubber products
-household and agricultural chemicals
-asphalt shingles
-heavy oils
-newspaper, cardboard and other paper products
-buildings and mobile homes.



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