Ark. Forestry Commission says fires similar to Tenn. fire can happen anywhere

Ark. Forester says Tenn. fire can happen anywhere

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(KTHV) - With the recent fire in Tennessee carving a devastating path, many of you have asked; could this happen here?

It's a startling scene to witness, a fire consuming a mountainside dangerously close to the heart of Pigeon Forge since Monday.

Arkansas State Forester Joe Fox said all it takes is a spark if the conditions are right but also clarified a similar fire in Arkansas would be "unusual". It would require the perfect drought conditions, low humidity, and very high winds.

"One of the things that really hit the Gatlinburg fire, I understand they had 80 miles-per-hour winds and in that kind of mountainous terrain you're not going to catch any fire," he said.

Fox said in areas that have limited access, like the Ouachita National Forest, it can be challenging to stop the fire from spreading as well as getting the proper amount of tireless work into the area.

It's the wind that can make a fire hard to control before it even sparks. Controlled burns help lessen the amount of fuel on the forest floor and Fox said it's a great tool in preventing forest fires.

"In 2015 I think we had just under 160,000 acres of controlled burns in Arkansas," he said. "That is a great thing as far as thinning, so that the forest isn't as dense."

Arkansas' fire seasons are generally tied to times when humidity is low and vegetation is dry. Fires typically happen here from August through October and February through April.


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