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Firefighters warn Arkansans of wildfire risk ahead of warmer months

As it starts to get warmer here in Arkansas, firefighters are warning of possible wildfire risks and sharing tips on how to prevent them.

CLEVELAND COUNTY, Ark. — The Arkansas heat wasted no time in arriving and neither have grass and wildfires. 

Assistant Fire Chief of the 133 Fire Department in Rison, Andrew Roshell, Jr., and other firefighters worked on Monday to contain a small grass fire on Highway 133.

"There was a spark and over a timeframe, it ignited and slowly spread to the forest," said Roshell.

There aren't any active burn bans in the state right now, but it has been nearly two weeks since any significant rainfall. 

The recent lack of rain serves as a good reminder that it doesn't take much for a fire to spark up.

"There's great fear and we are prepared for forest fires and grass fires," Roshell explained.

The Arkansas Forestry Division (AFD) reported 287 fires so far in 2023, and in 2022, there were 1,692 wildfires in Arkansas.

AFD  said that prescribed burns, tree thinning, and creating fire breaks are helpful ways to cut down on wildfires.

"When we do burn, make sure that we don't leave the area that we are burning in and make sure also that the fire has been completely extinguished," Roshell added.

He has also called on more people to step up and become volunteer firefighters.

"If there were no fire departments that would be able to volunteer fires would get out of hand and quite a bit of damage would result," he described.

The Arkansas Forestry Division also has preventative programs for home and landowners. You can learn more by clicking here.

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