The hottest month of August on record led to a record surge in wildfires in Vernon and Sabine parishes, destroying woods and buildings in their path. No loss of life was reported by either parish.
Thursday August 9, Vernon firefighters and first responders battled a blaze that broke out near the Evans community. ..The fire jumped Highway 111 forcing the temporary closure of the road. A voluntary evacuation alert was issued and one person was evacuated.
The fire burned over 200 acres of Vernon Parish but no structures were damaged. Over 40 persons and 30 vehicles were used to combat the blaze. Vernon Sheriff Sam Craft reported the following day the fire had been contained.
Monday, August 14, a massive fire destroyed over 2100 acres in Sabine Parish east of Florien. Fire personnel from Sabine, Vernon and Natchitoches parishes were on the scene. The fire destroyed ten inhabited dwellings, eight structures and multiple cars. A million dollar fiber optic hub owned by Optimum/Suddenlink was completely destroyed, knocking out internet/cable service from Fisher to Anacoco.
Seven roads in Sabine were closed including Highway 118. The fire reportedly started from a downed power line on Mount Carmel Cutoff Road.
Sabine Sheriff Aaron Mitchell reported the fire contained at 9pm Monday night.
The Evans area was threatened again two weeks later when an oil derrick blew out sparking a fast moving woods fire near Fal Road. Responders quickly contained it.
Ft. Johnson Range Control postponed several rounds of live fire exercises as precautionary measures while fire support personnel battled blazes on Peason Ridge.
This weekend of August 26 fires broke out near Vernon Lake on Lions Camp Road and nearby areas. The fire quickly spread and volunteers who were battling fires in Beauregard were diverted to assist. The rapidly moving blaze spread to the west side of Highway 171. Both sides of Highway 171 were closed from Anacoco to Leesville near dusk Saturday. The road was re-opened Sunday, August 27. Mandatory evacuations were issued for West Hawthorne Road and Ford Stewart Road. Fire and emergency personnel battled that blaze into the early hours on Sunday August 27. No structures were reported burned in the area.
The continuing fire danger has prompted local law enforcement to issue warnings of severe penalties for anyone caught violating the state and local burn bans. The state Fire Marshall’s Office has called for a halt to all burning including agricultural and industrial until this drought is over.