Wildfire Risk and Burn Bans Still in Effect in Parts of Arkansas
As dry conditions continue throughout the state, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division is reminding Arkansans that wildfire danger is elevated across the state and, currently, 62 counties remain under a burn ban.
“Conditions are dry with low humidity statewide,” said State Forester Joe Fox. “We are seeing an increase in the number of wildfires and their intensity, and that’s a trend that will continue until we see significant rainfall. With this in mind, we are asking citizens of the state to be mindful of this risk and avoid burning.”
According to the latest press release, currently, the southernmost 16 counties have been given the “extreme” designation, while the rest of the state remains under “high” risk levels. Additionally, 62 counties are under burn bans. Burn bans primarily prohibit activities that involve an open flame. This includes fireworks, campfires, trash burning, open flame grilling, and prescribed or controlled burns.
Robert Murphy, Director of Emergency Services for the Forestry Division, emphasizes the importance of heeding these burn bans.
“In these conditions, it’s very important for Arkansans to avoid burning and remain cautious,” he said. “We’re seeing several large fires that start as small, controlled backyard fires.”
Murphey also recommends caution when driving or operating machinery.
“It’s important to remain cautious when driving through or working in dry grass,” Murphy said. “Trucks, ATVs, hay balers, and other vehicles can easily start fires by causing sparks over dry grass.”
The Forestry Division is asking those who see fires to report them by calling 1-800-468-8834 and to avoid flying drones in the area. When drones are present, those fighting the fires are unable to perform detection flights or fly single-engine air tankers (SEATs) to drop water.
The Forestry Division maintains a county-by-county Wildfire Danger map with four risk levels: low, moderate, high, and extreme. Risk levels are determined by drought status and long-term weather forecasts and are defined by how easily fires can start and how hard they are to contain. The Wildfire Danger map can be found at bit.ly/ARWildFireRisk. The risk level definitions are: