NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Clean up crews have been unable to stop thousands of barrels of oil from fouling the Gulf of Mexico, and as the massive slick creeps toward Mississippi shore, the Coast Guard is considering a fire.
The oil began leaking from an offshore well last week after an explosion and fire sank a drilling rig about 50 miles off Louisiana.
The Coast Guard says it could start conducting controlled burns as early as Wednesday afternoon.
One expert says he's not optimistic burning the oil will be effective.
Ed Overton of Louisiana State University says it has to be tried, but winds will need to be low and the water calm for it to work.
As for any effect on birds and mammals, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the creatures are more likely to escape a burning area of the ocean than escape from an oil slick.
Fishermen and a Gulf Coast business owners are keeping anxious watch.
©2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.