Breaking News
More () »

Burn bans continue to expand across Arkansas

With 66 out of 75 counties in Arkansas under a ban burn, officials explained why we're still facing wildfires and what you can and can't do under a burn ban.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Summer might be long gone, but continued dry weather and lack of rain have kept the state's burn bans around for a while longer.

Nearly all of Arkansas' 75 counties are faced with the burn ban— with the ban in effect in 66 counties.

Now that we've entered the fall season though, you may be wondering why are we still seeing wildfire danger.

"Any precipitation will be greatly appreciated in the state," said Matthew Lutz with the Saline County Office of Emergency Management.

In recent days, rain has been hard to come by— and representatives from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture (ADA) said that the dry spell has put the entire state at high risk for wildfires.

"Because of the rain deficit, it makes the low humidity that we often experience in the fall more dangerous," said Joe Fox with the ADA.

Grass, twigs, and limbs have become dried out due to the weather— and that's increasing the danger.

"Open flames are very dangerous [and] fires can get away," Fox said.

Ideally, we usually only see burn bans and high wildfire danger during the summer, but believe it or not, Fox said that it's not uncommon to see them appear during the fall.

"Over the last several years, the fire season, if you will, continues to grow in this season in the year," Lutz described.

Many Arkansans might be wondering what they can or can't burn during a burn ban— and according to Lutz, open burning is a big no.

"Waste, campfires, bonfires [and] recreational fires," Lutz explained.

He added that this also applies to controlled burns done on the state level too.

For those looking to fire up the grill, Lutz said that use is acceptable under certain circumstances, but recommended that people use a "lid of some sort [so] you can secure the coals and ash."

Besides simply not burning, he told us that there are small and cautionary things you can do to keep a fire from sparking.

"Making sure your chains aren't dragging when you're pulling a trailer or a tractor or anything behind it. Don't discard cigarette butts and uncontrolled containers," Lutz explained.

In the last four days, Fox added that the state has had at least nine fires because of the dry conditions.


Before You Leave, Check This Out