FOLSOM, La. (WGNO) — State leaders are warning people not to let their guard down when it comes to the statewide burn ban.

Officials say as long as this drought the state is experiencing persists, the burn ban will remain in place to protect both the public and the firefighters.

An 84-year-old woman died Sunday after reportedly falling into a fire she started while burning a pile of debris on her property along Highway 225 in Folsom.

“Very, very sad, and the reason I mention [the location it happened] that is, people shouldn’t think because they’re not in Southwest Louisiana that they’re not at risk,” Governor John Bel Edwards said.

The public affairs director for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Ashley Rodrigue, says one of their deputies was responding to a complaint when he spotted the brush fire.

“As he was pulling up, a volunteer firefighter was also pulling up at the same time, and they called for the fire department to fully respond, but as all of those individuals were starting to work on putting the fire out on the property, they discovered this woman in the burned area, and she was stunningly still alive,” Rodrigue said.

Firefighters pulled the woman from the fire that had spread quickly to the adjacent property belonging to Dolly Gaines.

“I was horrified,” Gaines said. “They wouldn’t let me see her. When I came out, they had gotten her out onto the grass.”

The victim was taken to a New Orleans hospital but succumbed to her injuries.

Her neighbor is hoping this serves as a reminder about the importance of the burn ban.

“God, I hope nobody burns right now,” Gaines said. “This is a horrible way to go. No one would want to lose a family member this way, absolutely none.”

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