New Orleans emergency because of marsh fire

August 30, 2011 - 5:00 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has declared a state of emergency for a marsh fire in the eastern part of the city.

The city will deploy Air National Guard helicopters to dump water on the fire. It has burned almost all the trees, shrubs and grasses on a 2,300-acre area surrounded by canals. Nine helicopters will be sent out.

Easterly winds kept a pall of smoke from the fire over the New Orleans area for the third straight day Tuesday. The National Weather Service and state Department of Environmental Quality issued alerts for the area.

Meteorologists say the smoke could move north, mostly over Lake Pontchartrain, by evening.

About a dozen people went to a hospital this week complaining of breathing problems because of the smoke.