RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KLFY) — Officials fighting the Elizabeth Fire in Rapides Parish have some sobering news for those wondering why the wildfires rage after a typical rainstorm.
An update on an informational Facebook page set up by the U.S. Forest Service outlined what needs to happen for the fire to be declared completely out.
“We’ve already covered containment, and the second step is the fire being controlled,” the post reads. “A controlled fire means that the fire no longer threatens further spread or resource damage under foreseeable conditions.”
For a fire to be declared out there needs to be zero residual heat, and the best way to reduce heat is with water.
“But, according to our Fire Behavior Analyst, we need 4-5” of rain to relieve the severe drought conditions on the #ElizabethFire,” the post read, “and that much rain STILL may not put the fire out! Some quick math showed that 5 inches of rain would put millions of gallons of water on the fire area. A normal water drop from a helicopter is 600-1000 gallons, which shows you how much water is really needed!”
Fires are generally not declared totally out until a “season-ending event,” like a huge rainstorm or snowfall.
“Aviation resources are an important piece of our firefighting operations,” the post reads. “Helicopters allow us to drop water on areas that we can’t access from the ground, or places it isn’t safe to be on the ground. But they can’t take the place of a good rain!”
Located in southwest Rapides Parish, the Elizabeth Fire is south of Ten Mile Road and northeast of La. 462. Officials said the fire is currently 50% contained.