New Orleans Marsh Fire (Video)
Marsh Fire in New Orleans
[Update: the New Orleans marsh fire is still burning, with air quality warnings issued for New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.]
A marsh fire in eastern New Orleans is sending huge plumes of smoke across the metro area. Mayor Mitch Landrieu has declared a state of emergency, and the Air National Guard will dump water on the blaze from helicopters. The fire department's initial strategy is to let the marsh fire burn out by itself, since the location of the fire was inaccessible by land.
New Orleans residents are frustrated with the city's marsh fire response, as people are hospitalized with respiratory illnesses triggered by the smoke. Those with allergies or athsma are particularly at risk.
The fire began over the weekend, and has since grown to consume thousands of acres.
The marsh fire is believed to have been started by a lightning strike.
Schools are keeping children indoors, and the smoke is setting off fire alarms in local residences. The Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality alert.
You can see eyewitness video footage of the New Orleans marsh fire below.