Dry weather ideal for farmers, dangerous for wildfires - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Dry weather ideal for farmers, dangerous for wildfires


The dry, sunny weather is blamed for several wildfires across the state, but farmers want the conditions to last just a while longer.  

"Obviously, some terrible weather conditions where a really dry vegetation, the lack of precipitation and a prediction of another week or two of that same circumstance led us to putting the burn ban in place," Louisiana State Fire Marshall Butch Browning said.

The burn ban will remain for possibly a month, according to Browning. Dry conditions are already blamed for a marsh fire in St. Tammany this past weekend.

"Despite the ban, we are getting numerous fires across the state. We're are getting calls from local fire departments from people setting these trash fires or these incidental fires that are getting out of hand," Browning said.
But the lack of October rain is nothing new for Louisiana.

"It's no rain at all in the month of October. It happens," FOX 8 Chief Meteorologist Bob Breck said.

The dry weather during harvesting time is a gift for sugarcane farmers.

"We've had years where it's been boots on every day. I have my tennis shoes on today. You never know what you're going to get, but that's the nature of a farmer," Terrebonne Parish farmer Wallace Ellender said.

The light brown dirt in Ellender's fields means a better harvest.

"With a wet year, we'd be changing tires," he said. "The equipment gets so muddy and you can't see if you have an oil leak somewhere on a transmission or on a housing and the equipment goes too far. We get wear on our tracks and on our combines. So it's costly. When it's dry, things go well."

Sugarcane farmers are certified to burn their fields even with a burn ban in place. But Ellender said most farmers will wait until the burn ban is lifted.

Anyone caught igniting a fire and causing damage could face criminal charges, according to Browning.

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