New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called on the governor on Friday to redeploy Louisiana National Guardsmen to fight a stubborn marsh fire in New Orleans East, after a reconnaissance flight late Thursday showed three hot spots still burning in Bayou Sauvage.

 

The National Guard deployed one UH-60 Black Hawk to assist with aerial firefighting, and another Black Hawk is on stand-by. Guardsmen are using helibuckets, 500-gallon buckets suspended by a cable to carry and drop water.

 

National Guard helicopters have dropped more than 1 million gallons of water on the marsh fires since the helicopters were first deployed on Aug. 30, six days after firefighters say a lightning stike ignited dry vegetation in the marsh.

 

The fire has always been 100% contained because the 1,552 acre area is surrounded by water on all four sides, however last month officials found a second fire burning nearby that they think was set intentionally.

 

The fire is inaccessible to NOFD equipment and does not pose a threat to life or property, except to people with heart or lung problems who inhale smoke from the fire on days when air quality is especially poor.

 

A news release says city officials will continue to coordinate with the Department of Environmental Quality to monitor air quality, which is currently “good” and poses no threat to public health.

 

The National Guard’s original mission was suspended due to weather conditions as Tropical Storm Lee began to impact the region.

 

While Lee dropped 10.24 inches of rain on the area, reconnaissance teams found areas of light haze and pockets that were still smoldering following the storm.