All Ark. counties under moderate risk for wildfires

*NOTE: This is a stock photo.
*NOTE: This is a stock photo.(6ABC Philadelphia / YouTube)
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 2:35 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) - All 75 of Arkansas’ counties have been placed under a moderate risk for wildfires after a series of burn bans were also put in place statewide.

Arkansas officials made the announcement Monday, July 11. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Little Rock says because of persistent high temperatures and little rainfall, the entire state is under a moderate wildfire risk. More than half of the counties in the state also currently have burn bans in place.

“Over the next seven days, much of Arkansas is expected to remain dry, with less than one-quarter of an inch of rain forecast for only the southeast corner of the state,” said NWS officials Monday.

The Arkansas Forestry Division says the following are the top ways wildfires can spark:

  • Equipment malfunction
  • Burning debris
  • Lightning
  • Vehicles
  • Arson

Currently, lawns, fields, and wooded areas are very dry across the state. Anyone who sees a wildfire should call 1-800-468-8834.

The triple digit temperatures also have some farmers rushing to save their crops.

“So I see both sides of it, from the fire side and the agriculture,” said Scotty Taylor, a farmer and fire marshal.

The dry weather is having a double effect on Taylor, who lives in Bowie County. He’s a hay farmer and also serves as the fire marshal of the county. Taylor says the hay business started off well this year, with much of the crop being sold to ranchers in other parts of Texas being hit hard with the dry weather, but in recent days, the trend has changed.

“Now everybody here is scrambling trying to get their hay before it completely burns up from the dry weather,” said Taylor.

Taylor says as he works his fields, he stays ready to change hats and take care of his fire marshal duties. He says so far, there have been no major fires in Bowie County due to the dry conditions.

“We’ve been progressive in issuing citations to people burning and letting it get off their property. I think that helps quite a bit. As of today, Bowie County does have a burn ban in effect,” Taylor said.

The fire marshal says they’ll be issuing citations to those burning during the ban.

“if you are doing any type of grilling outside, you need to have a water hose close. you don’t need to do any type of burning, any type of fireworks, nothing with a flame. Right now, we have pretty good winds and they will get away from you quick,” Taylor advised.

Fire officials say farmers working fields should make sure their farm equipment is in good working condition since it only can take a little spark to ignite a major brush fire.

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