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Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning is looking to raise awareness on burning safety in the state. The warnings come as multiple Louisiana residents have recently died in burning accidents related to burn piles.

In a press release, Browning said:

“These are sad and stunning cases that should bring everyone pause. Just because there is no burn ban in place in your area, that does not mean that conditions can’t change quicker than you can safely react.”

Browning's office says that four Louisiana residents have died in burn pile accidents since late January. The most recent of those deaths coming this week.

According to the release, on March 28th an 80-year-old man's body was found when neighbors reported an out of control grass fire in Sarepta. Firefighters in Webster Parish responded to a 911 call that a burn pile was encroaching on a woman's property. Firefighters located the man's body on his property, with evidence he was attempting to stop the burn pile from spreading.

Also on March 28th, State Fire Marshal Deputies were informed that an 89-year-old New Iberia man was found on his property after he had been missing for multiple days. He had been reported missing over the weekend after a 10-acre grass fire broke out on his property.

On March 25th, authorities in Topsy found a body in a burn pile while extinguishing the out of control fire. The State Fire Marshal's Office believes the body is the 67-year-old neighbor of the property the fire was discovered on.

Authorities in Vernon Parish say a 78-year-old man died on January 31st when he and his son lost control of their burn pile. Investigators say the pair were clearing their property when the fire started to spread. The victim had gone missing, and when his remains were discovered, the State Fire Marshal's Office says the body was still covered in flames.

The State Fire Marshal's Office wants to share these safety tips:

• Ensuring weather conditions, including wind speed and direction, are safe for burning
• Establishing a burn pile at least 75 feet from any structures
• Creating a 5-foot wet control line around the area
• Avoiding the use of flammable liquids to ignite a burn pile
• Remaining vigilant over the fire with a water source nearby at all times
• Alert a loved one or neighbor of your activities or conduct them with help
• If the fire does get out of control, call 911

They also want to remind you that any burn bans, or concerns related to burning conditions, can be found on the agency’s website deq.louisiana.gov.

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