NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 31 (UPI) — The Louisiana National Guard is using helicopters to dump water on a marsh fire that has burned more than 1,000 acres in New Orleans in the past week.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he declared a state of emergency Tuesday to allow the city and state to deploy “all necessary assets” to stop the fire, which started after a lightning storm on Aug. 24.
The primary marsh fire in New Orleans East is just north of Chef Menteur Highway and west of Bayou Sauvage. The fire is feeding off brush, including chinaberry and willow trees, along with compacted layers of peat moss under the marsh brush, the city said in a release.
While the primary fire is believed to be 100 percent contained, a secondary fire covering about 24 acres was spotted Tuesday east of the primary marsh fire site.
Helicopters started dumping 500-gallon buckets of water on the smaller, secondary fire Tuesday and then planned to douse the primary fire, the city said.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said the smoke is causing increased levels of particulate matter in the atmosphere, creating the potential for health problems in people with chronic heart or lung conditions. The fires are not a widespread public health threat, the city said.