Wildfire risks increase across Arkansas

Wildfire risk increases across state

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Wildfire danger is increasing in Arkansas as every dry day passes.  As of Monday, six county burn bans are in effect: Faulkner, Hempstead, Cleveland, Monroe, Lee, and Crittenden.

Even if you aren't under a burn ban, right now the entire state is under moderate wildfire danger, except for nine southeast counties that are under high wildfire danger.

“Whenever humidity levels get low, and it feels nice like it does now; when they get below 40 percent you talk about a lack of moisture present in the air," said Adriane Barnes with Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Low humidity mixed with gusty winds increases the risk of fire spreading.

“Everybody needs to be careful right now; with low humidity, anything will burn right now,” said Joe Fox, a state forester.

Wildfire possibilities increase during this time of year.

“October is a pretty high frequency month,” said Barnes.

While most of the state under a moderate fire danger is asked to be cautious by choosing a safe burn site, the Arkansas Forestry Commission said those under high fire danger should avoid burning.

“The two biggest causes of wildfires in the natural state are arson and burning debris fires,” said Barnes.

Over the weekend, there were 22 small fires across the state totaling 146 acres burned.

“We're in a fire danger period where one more week of really dry weather with low humidity could really change the outlook of the state," said Fox.

While we're in a fire danger period now, overall we're in a low fire year with about 14,000 acres burned to date.

“It’s a low fire year because of all the rain we've had and high humidity," said Fox.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission advices to only burn when humidity is above 35 to 40 percent and when the wind is under 5 miles per hour.


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