LOUISIANA (KLFY) — The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s office is instructing crews fighting the wildfires in central and southwest Louisiana to exercise extra caution this weekend, based on expected weather conditions.

The National Weather Service in Lake Charles has advised SFM that a Fire Weather Watch will be issued for Central and SW Louisiana later this afternoon with the potential for a Red Flag Warning to be issued for these areas over the weekend.

A fire weather watch is issued to advise user agencies of the possible development of red flag conditions in the near future, generally the next 24 to 72 hours. A red flag warning is issued to advise user agencies of occurring or imminent red flag conditions, generally within the next 12 to 24 hours.

As a result, SFM has issued the following recommendations to those fighting the fires:

  • Firefighters should not perform any suppression activities in an area where vegetation exists.
  • The current weather can result in dramatic changes in fire behavior with no warning resulting in you being trapped.
  • Do not get in front of a moving fire front. You can be overrun within seconds although the fire seems “a good distance away.”
  • Do not work alone, always have a lookout.
  • Do not risk your life to protect a structure.
  • If you do not know where the fire is or lose communications with command, evacuate immediately to a safe area.
  • If you have to evacuate, leave the equipment and go.

Red flag conditions include relative humidity of 15% or less combined with surface winds of 25 mph or greater and storms expected to produce lightning but not much rain.

As of Thursday’s daily update, the Tiger Island Fire, the largest of the four fires being monitored at 31,290 acres, was 84% contained, with 204 people fighting it. The 7,124-acre Hwy. 113 Fire was reported to be 95% contained, and the smaller Elizabeth and Lions Camp Road fires are 95% and 100% contained, respectively.

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