BREAKING: Governor visits Vernon Parish, thanks first responders for ‘heroic work’

Published 5:03 pm Saturday, August 26, 2023

Gov. John Bel Edwards conducted a flyover of wildfire damage in Sabine and Vernon parishes Saturday afternoon, thanking first responders for their “heroic work” in Southwest Louisiana.

“People are doing a tremendous job — and have been for a long time — keeping the people of our state safe and protecting property,” Edwards said. “Yes, we have lost some homes, we’ve lost some structures, but as of right now we don’t have any fatalities from these fires and that is remarkable when you consider the tens of thousands of acres that have burned over the last 10 days.”

Edwards said officials have never seen these type of dangerous conditions in relation to the drought the state continues to face.

“Temperatures have never been this high for this long and with this lack of rainfall it’s really come together to create a drought situation in Louisiana that is bad across the state, but is most acute here,” Edwards said. “This area has been in D4 for a while, which is the most severe form of drought and we’re asking everyone to do everything they can to abide by the burn ban. No one should be burning anything for any reason at any time.”

Edwards said despite a cold front expected to head to the area over the latter part of the weekend, the predicted amount of rainfall is not expected to significantly help conditions on the ground.

Edwards said though tens of thousands of acres have been burned across the state —with Desoto, Rapides, Livingtson, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes among them — the most serious fires have been in Beauregard, Vernon and Sabine parishes. He said Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida are continuing to send firefighters, tanker trucks and air support to control the fire.