Louisiana sees ‘unprecedented’ wildfires amid record heat, drought

More than 450 fires have scorched parts of Louisiana amid weeks of record-breaking heat and severe drought conditions. The Tiger Island Fire, the largest wildfire in the state’s history, tore through Beauregard Parish in the southwestern part of the state and grew from an estimated 15,000 acres to over 33,000 acres between Friday and Sunday.

The Louisiana blazes have been blamed for two deaths.

“Wildfires this many and of this intensity are unprecedented,” Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Department, told The Washington Post. Louisiana, one of the wettest states in the country, averages 771 wildfires a year, according to 10-year average data from the department. The state has averaged 21 wildfires per day over the past several weeks, Strain said.

“With this kind of heat, the low humidity and the lack of rainfall, this is probably the driest conditions, the most drought-prone conditions we’ve had in a generation,” Strain said.