LOUISIANA (KLFY) — As the burn ban continues to be in effect across Louisiana, so does the physical and mental toll it takes on the firefighters who are committed to protecting lives.

New Ten’s Zane Hogue spoke with Ashley Rodrigue of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“The reason why the burn ban was even put in place is because several weeks ago the local fire service was already starting to feel the pinch of a lot of calls for burn piles getting out of control. And that’s even before we got into the extreme drought conditions that we’re still in right now. We have seen our local fire departments continue to be stretched,” said Rodrigue.

Fire departments across Louisiana have been responding to a higher rate of calls for more than three weeks. During that time the sizes of wildfires have also increased, burning thousands of acres.

Matthew Rabalais with St. Landry Fire District 3 says his firefighters responded to almost 30 calls of fire over Labor Day weekend alone.

“It’s been difficult to try to keep up throughout the day. We’re short staffed like a lot of departments around the state are. So just trying to keep up with the extra call volume that we’re receiving right now has been tough. But we’ve done it and we will continue to do it,” said Rabalais.

With firefighters responding to more calls and larger fires, the physical tole becomes a concern.

“The number one concern is heating exhaustion, because we’re out there and it’s extremely hot. The gear that we wear obviously is not something that you can get fresh air in, so it’s hot inside as well as the exterior. Fortunately, we have equipment that will help us,” said Rodrigue.

As the heat and longer hours take a toll on those in high-risk areas, assistance has made its way from across the country.

“It got up to more than 300 firefighters from at least 6 other states responding not only to those wildfires, but to help essentially give personnel a break,” Rodrigue added.

As firefighters continue to work and Louisiana finally experiences rain, those in the fire service want to remind everyone the burn ban is still in effect and together we can prevent more fires.

“The important thing to note is that we all have a role in this whether we are a firefighter or whether we are just protectors of our community,” Rodrigue explained.