LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) The Forestry Commission says lightning strikes have sparked four wildfires this weekend.
In Wrightsville, a lightning strike burned 59 acres last night, according to the Commission.
The fire was in a Wetland Reserve Program hardwood plantation. "Fire in an usually wet place shows the extreme fire danger," said State Forester Joe Fox. He said the drought in Arkansas is continuing to cause Extreme fire conditions despite recent rains.
The Commission says lightning also started a fire Cleburne and Conway Counties, Sunday and a wildfire in Stone County yesterday.
Arkansas Forestry Commission used Air Tankers to drop water. AFC crews fought eight fires Sunday. Crews are fighting fires in Cleburne, Boone, Conway, Newton, and Pope Counties. Fires in Hot Spring County, Sharp County, and Cleburne County are extinguished. The size of these fires have not yet been determined and no homes were lost.
The Commission says lightning strike fires can happen anytime but they are worse in the extreme drought conditions now in Arkansas. Trees have been deprived of water for so long they are going into an early dormancy. The rain is helping, but it will take significant amounts of rain to make a difference. The soil and vegetation conditions are so dry that moisture falling is being wicked up quickly by the vegetation, leaving the same dry conditions.
Seventy-three counties are still under burn bans and the AFC is rating the wildfire danger as Extreme. The AFC is encouraging everyone to obey those burn bans and be careful of any outdoor activity that might spark a fire.