Arkansas Forestry Commission warns fire danger still exists

    9:28 PM, Nov 28, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV)--The scorching heat and relentless drought this year helped spark a disastrous wildfire season, and that risk still exists as we enter the colder months.

    Extreme drought created one of the busiest summer fire seasons in memory. Nearly every day, reports of new fires broke out.

    While the summer fire season may be over, the Arkansas Forestry Commission said the potential danger is not.

    Fire management officer, Bill Chaney said we haven't received much rainfall to counter the drought.

    "We still got pretty low soil moisture. The danger is still there. The cool temperatures kind of deceive you a little bit. The danger is still there.

    Currently, Northwest Arkansas remains under a moderate fire risk, while the rest of the state is low. The National Weather Service is predicting a dry winter and Chaney said this further increases the risk.

    "We got the leaves falling on the ground, so that's adding fuel and with the freezing temperatures and the frost, the grass seed, the finer fuels are going to start browning up, so they're going to start burning a little bit more easier," said Chaney. "If they're burning brush piles, a pile of limbs, a pile of leaves keep water handy, have a rake handy."

    Chaney also suggested checking with local authorities before burning outside to make sure the conditions are right.

    Winter is also a common time for chimney fires and Chaney said once you've used those fireplaces, be sure to dispose of the ashes properly.

    "One of the things I do, personally I have a fireplace, and we have a bucket that we carry the ashes out in and we just let them sit and cool till their completely out or if we go ahead and dump them out then we take a water hose and and water the ashes down to where they're completely out."

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