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Large brush fire erupts in Livingston Parish as burn ban takes effect Tuesday

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DENHAM SPRINGS – The day a statewide burn ban went into effect, numerous fire crews were dispatched to a difficult fire burning through woods in Livingston Parish.

Crews spent about two hours getting the fire under control near neighborhoods off Dunn Road northeast of Denham Springs.  Multiple fire districts were called to help.

"We found a small fire at that point," Charlie Weaver, Assistant Chief of Livingston Fire District 5, said. "We attempted to start extinguishing it. The wind picked up on us and it got into the woods."

In videos posted on social media Tuesday afternoon, firefighters are seen running through yards to reach a fire line that was approaching developed properties.  In one video, smoke and a small brush fire are seen a few feet from a child’s playset.

Fire District 5 said flames from the fire came within 100 feet of a subdivision.  Crews were able to stop the fire from spreading to developments. 

About five to ten acres burned, Charlie Weaver, the assistant fire chief for District 5 said. 

The fire was contained but was still burning at 5 p.m. Tuesday.  Weaver said the flames were inside a burn ring and were likely going to burn into the evening. 

As crews rushed to try to keep flames from spreading to developed land, two firefighters were briefly trapped as the fire was moved around by the wind.  They were able to escape unharmed.

Winds have been especially problematic and are part of the reason for the state-wide burn ban.  

The fire was the fourth of the day.  Earlier, a person burning a stump on Amite Church Road suffered third-degree burns after a fire got out of control.  The fire prompted a brief evacuation of a school nearby, the fire department said. 

"Amite Christian Academy was evacuated due to the fire getting extremely close to their playground and their building," Weaver said. 

The fire fights come as state officials have sounded the alarm over dry conditions and a fear of forest and grass fires.  A burn ban took effect Tuesday morning because of the fear.

"Due to the extremely dry conditions statewide and the overwhelming emergency responses recorded by local fire officials, State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, along with Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, have issued a statewide cease and desist order for all private burning," the Fire Marshal's office said when announcing the burn ban this week.

Fires Tuesday follow one on Saturday where a 10-acre fire burned a field on the eastern end of Livingston parish.  The fire was sparked by a hot exhaust and destroyed a pickup truck.  The truck got stuck while spreading grass seeds and its exhaust was hot enough to ignite the grass underneath the truck.

A line of storms Thursday may not produce enough rain to ease concerns over dry conditions. 

"Thursday's rain is not gonna do that much for us," Weaver said. "It's not going to help at all."

WBRZ Storm Station meteorologists are watching a line of rain forecast for Thursday afternoon.  Click HERE for the WBRZ weather page. Watch WBRZ newscasts for the latest forecast.

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