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March 27, 2020

Fire Marshall Issues Explanation for & Exemptions to Burn Ban

The Louisiana Fire Marshall's Office issued a Burn Ban (click here to read) that was effective at
8:00 am on March 25, 2020. Today, Ashley Rodrigue, Public Affairs Director of the Fire Marshall's Office explained that the order is not related to "dry or wet environmental conditions" but that the primary reasons for the Burn ban are
  • (1) to reduce irritants in the air created by smoke that can adversely affect those suffering from respiratory issues, whether associated with COVID-19 or not, or confuse people who are trying to determine whether their respiratory issues are caused by COVID-19 or not, and
  • (2) to reduce the potential for fire-related emergency calls which could put first responders in close proximity to each other and the public as well as potentially tax shortened staffs affected by COVID-19.
In addition, the communication answered the following questions:

1. Can I cook outdoors?
Yes, the use of barbecue pits, smokers and fire pits, in order to conduct brief, recreational cooking
practices, is allowed during this burn ban.

2. Can I use my fire pit?
If you intend on using your fire pit for brief, recreational activities like roasting marshmallows or simply enjoying the evening sitting beside a fire, yes, you can use your fire pit.

3. Can I burn my brush, leaves and branches in my fire pit and/or barrel?
No, moving brush materials from a pile on your property to a contained environment to burn for an
extended period of time is not allowed. One of the purposes of the ban is to limit the amount of smoke in the air. Changing the method of your burning is not in line with that purpose.

4. Can the farm down the road continue burning their fields?
Yes, the law allows exceptions for prescribed burns by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and by those who conduct prescribed burns as a “generally accepted agriculture practice” as defined by the Louisiana Right to Farm Law (R.S. 3:3601 et seq).

5. Can I get an exception to privately burn?
The law allows for local fire departments and governments to give permissions or opt out of the ban.
However, we are hopeful that residents, fire agencies and local governments will take this opportunity to be a good neighbor by cooperating with this order.

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