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Entire Louisiana town evacuated amid 'unprecedented' wildfires

State authorities said they have never fought fires like this amid record-breaking heat and extreme drought that has troubled the area.
Entire Louisiana town evacuated amid 'unprecedented' wildfires
Posted at 10:53 PM, Aug 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-25 22:54:43-04

State authorities evacuated the entire town of Merryville, Louisiana near the Texas border as an "unprecedented" rash of wildfires hit the area. Police told residents the evacuations were mandatory. 

The 1,200 residents who call Merryville home were forced to leave. 

"We’ve never had to fight this many fires simultaneously and at this duration," said Mike Strain, the commissioner for Louisiana’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

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The state of Louisiana has seen nearly 500 wildfires so far this month alone. 

Thick smoke could be seen billowing from the fires burning in Beauregard Parish as authorities ordered evacuations in the area. That blaze, named the Tiger Island Fire, had burned at least estimated 15,000 acres by Friday. 

By Friday firefighters had only been able to contain about 50 percent of the fires. 

State officials issued a statewide burn ban, with absolutely no exceptions. All parishes were under that ban and a Red Flag Warning. 

Louisiana's Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency this month because of the extreme drought and heat conditions in the state. 

"We only have so many resources to allocate to fires and once you are out, you’re out," Gov. Edwards told residents. 

Officials in neighboring Texas have offered to help fight the blazes. 

On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said his state would send firefighters along with other emergency services to Louisiana to assist in trying to contain as much of the remaining fires as possible. 


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