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Louisiana's Tiger Island Fire, largest in state's history, doubles in size

Louisiana wildfires prompt evacuations
Louisiana's growing wildfires prompt evacuations 01:40

The Tiger Island Fire burning in Beauregard Parish, the largest wildfire in Louisiana's history, doubled in size over the weekend. State fire officials reported on Sunday that the fire expanded to cover a staggering 33,000 acres, up from an estimated 15,000 acres on Friday. 

Containment remains at only 50% and at least 20 buildings have been destroyed. The fire forced the entire town of Merryville, home to 1,200 residents, to evacuate Thursday night. 

The Tiger Island Fire was one of four major wildfires burning in Louisiana Monday morning, and at least one person has died in the state. The person, an elderly woman, died after being rescued from a brush fire in St. Tammany Parish, authorities said. 

Hundreds of wildfires have charred parts of the state this month. Louisiana, which is accustomed to dealing with hurricanes and floods, not fires and drought, has witnessed an unprecedented 441 fires in August.

"While we're pretty good and practiced at emergency response, not so much on the wildfires," said Gov. John Bel Edwards. 

The state has faced scorching temperatures this summer. Last week, Edwards declared a state of emergency because of extreme heat and believes that some of the fires could have been prevented if residents had adhered to the statewide burn ban which has been in effect for weeks.  

Monica Hickman, a displaced resident who evacuated her home and then her brother's home, said she fears the fire's spread.  

"This is so scary to think that we could lose our homes," she said.  

Hickman, like countless others, is praying for rain and help to stop the fire's destructive path. 

"It's not just for my home. It's not just for my family. It's for my community," she said.  

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that a woman died in St. Tammany Parish. 

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