NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — With Labor Day right around the corner, state fire officials are asking people not to start open flames.

With more than 500 wildfires this month alone, officials are emphasizing the damage the dry conditions have caused.

“We are seeing these conditions last across the state equally for such a long time. This is just something we haven’t seen before. This is absolutely an unprecedented event,” says Public Affairs Director Ashley Rodrigue with the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

New Orleans Fire Department Captain Edwin Holmes knows this is not an easy task as football tailgates begin, but he hopes people are willing to sacrifice it amid the burn ban.

“Most people tend to cook out for the holiday. We just want to encourage people to be smart about this. If you happen to have a gas strip, we would rather you not use that. Any type of appliance that causes an outdoor flame,” says Holmes.

Rodrigue wants people to realize that small flareups people have gotten in the past from opening their grill won’t be the same due to the dry, hot and fire-friendly conditions.

“When you open up that grill, what you are going to get is a much bigger flare in the embers that come from that flame. They can actually live on the air a lot longer and spread further. Not only is it going to catch quickly, but it is also going to spread quickly,” says Rodrigue.

With several universities already banning barbecues at tailgates ahead of their games, people at home are still reminded to be vigilant.

“The most fire safe way to be this weekend is not to engage with open flames outdoors at all,” says Rodrigue.

Some alternatives officials are suggesting are buying prepackaged party packs or flameless candles.

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