MADISONVILLE, La. (WGNO) — St. Tammany Parish leaders and firefighters say dry weather and high winds are putting the parish in a state of emergency with a red flag warning.

Fire calls for firefighters are on the rise. On Monday, Aug. 21, they had five fires all at the same time.

On Tuesday, Aug. 22, parish leaders addressed the issue, warning residents not to burn anything.

A fire at a Madisonville home on Pelican Ridge Drive shows just how quickly a fire spreads.

“We want everyone to understand, we hate to use the word unprecedented, but that’s the situation we are in,” said St. Tammany Parish Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Operations Clint Ory.

From neighborhoods to rural St. Tammany Parish, fires are rampant because of the heat, lack of rain and high winds.

“Extreme heat, extreme drought, which together is a perfect recipe for fires, some that we can control and others that will be difficult to control,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper.

“The burn ban is important, but we are asking people to be aware of what produces heat outside. For those who work outside, cook outside, please take extra precautions,” said Ory.

Residents who do not obey the burn ban could face fines.

“And you can be held civilly liable for any damages that may be caused, so it is not worth it, right now as dangerous as it is,” said Ory.

Leaders say firefighters are being bombarded with calls. Currently, they have 100 firefighters on duty at a time, with most working overtime.

“Our resources are being taxed,” said St. Tammany Fire District 9 Chief Scott Brewer.

“We haven’t lost anyone’s life in St. Tammany Parish, no serious injuries,” said Ory.

Parish leaders are asking businesses with marquees to put up that a burn ban is in effect, so the word gets out that there’s a burn ban in place.

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