As soon as weather cleared from Tropical Storm Lee, the City returned its focus to the woodland-marsh fire in New Orleans East.
On Monday, September 05, 2011, a ground reconnaissance team from the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD), along with a guide from the property owner, surveyed the 1552-acre area affected by the woodland-marsh fire.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry conducted an aerial reconnaissance flight. Mayor Landrieu also took an aerial reconnaissance flight to view the area.
The reconnaissance teams found areas of light haze and pockets that were still smoldering from the fire, which is believed to have been started by a lightning storm on Wednesday, August 24, 2011. Soil samples and excavations taken by the NOFD in and around the area burned found that the water table had risen to approximately twelve inches below the ground’s surface, making for extremely adverse conditions for a rekindle.
According to the National Weather Service, the closest official rainfall reading location to the impacted area is at Lakefront Airport. Data shows that Tropical Storm Lee dumped 10.24” on the area. Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s flight this morning found small areas of smoldering but no visible flame.
“Tropical Storm Lee made a significant impact on the marsh fires in New Orleans East,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Today, I saw small, isolated pockets of smoldering, but the experts tell us the threat has been mitigated. Thankfully, there was no loss of life which is always our top priority and there was no damage to people’s homes. We will continue to monitor the situation and will take additional immediate action if necessary.”
NOFD Superintendent Charles Parent stated, “The weekend’s rainfall has dramatically changed the environmental conditions, and it is no longer conducive for fire spread.”
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said, “The small area that is still smoldering is saturated with water and for all practical purposes the threat posed by this fire is over.”
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry is currently fighting 9 major wild fires in the state.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reports air quality as “good” for Orleans Parish.
NOFD will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis via ground reconnaissance, and the City’s Mosquito Control Board will continue do aerial reconnaissance. If the City sights flames or flare ups during reconnaissance missions, the City will immediately take the appropriate action.