UPDATE: Rainfall helping firefighting efforts, BPSB schools to reopen Tuesday

The rain that came through Southwest Louisiana Sunday and Monday has helped firefighting efforts in Beauregard Parish.

Pete Myers, operations section chief of the Southern Area Red Type One Incident Management Team, spoke to this relief during an update on the Tiger Island Fire he gave on Facebook on Monday.

“We had some thunderstorms move in, kinda capped the fire, kinda calmed everything down.”

The storms brought light rain “across the majority of the fire area,” he said. “When I’m saying light rain, just enough to kind of wet the dust on the road.”

While only a portion of the rainfall pushed through the tree canopy and onto the ground, it raised humidity levels significantly, which helped calm fire activity.

He said that overnight Sunday, seven engines and two dozers patrolled the fire.

The west side of the fire close to Merryville, “Division Foxtrot,” was “not active at all.”

Myers said other than small glows, there was no active fire or fire movement.

The north quadrant, near Nichols-Sibley Road, was also quiet with minimal activity.

“Division Juliette” along Schuetz Road, was also subdued.

“The cloud cover and that light rain really helped us in the fire by making it stand down, no movement last night. The weather last night really helped us with our firefighting out here.”

They conducted patrolling throughout the night. On Sunday, there were concerns of hot spots east of Schuetz Road; however, recon in the area found that there were no new spots or activity.

“Last night’s operations were a successful one due to firefighters on the ground and also the weather that we had moving in.”

The fire has grown from 16,000 acres late last week to nearly 33,300 acres on Monday morning. Another wildfire in Beauregard near Longville has burned about 19,200 acres, according to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Schools reopen

All Beauregard Parish School Board schools will reopen today.

“We understand that faculty, family, and friends are still recovering from the recent fires or may be actively evacuated,” the board said in an email to the American Press. “Our school site and district administration will be working to ensure that any concerns or situations are addressed in a positive and productive manner for everyone.”

How to help

Via the American Red Cross of Louisiana: If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer in one of the shelters or if you have the ability to assist virtually, teams are offering real-time training, so our workforce can be trained and ready to go, when and where help and hope are needed. Register here: https://bit.ly/44s94C6

Unity Baptist Church is accepting donations of non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, water and Gatorade to assist those impacted by the wildfire and for first responders. The church is located at 19373 Lake Charles Highway, DeRidder.

Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief is operating a large feeding outreach, getting meals to those impacted by the wildfire and to responders on the scene. They have also deployed showers to people and places in need. More equipment and teams are coming. If you would like to donate to this effort, visit bit.ly/WildfireDR.

United Way of Southwest Louisiana is collecting donations to assist with fire victims across SWLA. Text FIRESWLA to 40403 to learn how you can help, or visit unitedwayswla.org/fireswla.

New Step Outreach in DeRidder has been making and distributing snack kits for first responders. They have also been helping with meals. Contact the organization for more information on how to help, 337-226-5602. Items being collected are beef jerky/slim jims, Propel packets, PB crackers, eye drops, gummy snacks, peppermints, granola, wet wipes and tuna cracker packs. They are also collecting monetary donations to help with their disaster relief fund. Visit the organization’s website at www.newstepoutreach.org to donate.

The Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office Animal Control has been assisting in caring for displaced pets and in evacuating efforts. Follow the shelter’s page for ways to help.

Dewith Carrier State Representative District 32 is collecting donations of Liquid IV Hydration packets to distribute to first responders and volunteers in Beauregard Parish. If you can help, contact the district office at 318-335-0206 and arrangements will be made to pick up the donations.

Water, Gatorade and non-perishable snacks for first responders can be dropped off at the Westside Fire Station in DeRidder, 102 Wilson St. Firefighters will get it to the areas in need. No clothing donations are being accepted. This is to limit the traffic in and around the response area.

The Liberty Tree Street Kitchen has been feeding first responders. Check out The Market on Mahlon Street for information on how to help.

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