GONZALES — Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez lifted a parishwide burn ban on Thursday that had been imposed May 31 due to drought conditions, officials said.
“We are lifting the Ascension Parish burn ban because of the improvement of local conditions brought on by recent rainstorms,” Martinez said in a news release Thursday.
Thursday’s order follows Martinez’s decision on June 24, also due to effects of heavy rains, to authorize people to set off fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday in unincorporated areas of the parish.
From June 1 to June 30, the Baton Rouge area received 4.59 inches of rain, as measured at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport, said Mike Efferson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office in Slidell.
Efferson said Thursday that southeast Louisiana remains in exceptional drought, the most severe category.
This month’s rain total is 0.74 inches below normal for June.
So far this year, the region’s precipitation is 12.31 inches below the normal of 32.59 inches, Efferson said.
The state and parish burn ban orders came a month ago as Louisiana experienced severe drought conditions.
State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning Jr. and Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain issued on May 31 a statewide cease and desist order for all private burning that took effect June 1.
Martinez had issued a separate parishwide burn ban on May 31, then effective immediately, to coincide with the statewide cease and desist order that was to take effect a day later.
The state order says, however, that private burning may be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government.
On Thursday, Martinez encouraged residents to use caution with any open burning.