NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The year 2016 has brought some of the heaviest rain events Louisiana has ever seen, but the record-setting rain is now being followed by weeks of dry weather that has put most of state on alert.
A Louisiana Department of Agriculture online map shows only six parishes are currently not under a burn ban. The remaining parishes, including all in our area, are under a ban.
"Everything that we are seeing points to a continued dry fall and winter. So it's conceivable that the drought could worsen across the area. But we are nowhere near the situation that they are experiencing in parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia," FOX 8 Chief Meteorologist David Bernard said.
At least 50 large wildfires raged throughout much of the southeast Thursday. Many areas have not seen rain in more than a month. Those fires threaten homes and even cause respiratory problems for people living nearby. Many schools in those areas are keeping children inside during recess.
Louisiana's drought has not reached the same level as states in those regions, but with little to no rainfall in the forecast, the risk could grow in the near future.
"If we continue to see these dry conditions, then the threat for wildfires could go up as we go deeper into the winter, maybe even into the spring when you have a lot of dried-out, dead vegetation. That's when the wildfire risk does increase, and of course, agriculture interests that will be a big concern if we don't get any rain going into the spring," Bernard said.