HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — We're in the middle of the last holiday weekend for this summer, and there's more danger than usual this time around – especially when it comes to fires.
Whether it's grilling or campfires, Arkansas fire officials are trying to make sure everyone stays safe this weekend.
"After they thought that it was cooled off, and that's not the case at all," Fire Marshall Tom Braughton with the Hot Springs Fire Department said. "That's something to be very mindful about."
Take that in account with the fact that we're right in the middle of the holiday weekend, and that mindfulness is even more important.
"A lot of people, if they do anything, it'll be the very first part of it," Braughton said. "Then it gives them time to do what they want to the latter part of a longer weekend."
Hot Springs was under a burn ban the past couple days, and just had that lifted on Friday. That added to the concern of fires this weekend, and even though the ban is gone, that doesn't mean the safety recommendations are gone too.
THV11 spoke with Braughton Friday, who said recent rain contributed to the ban's lifting.
"So we left it on this morning, wanting to watch the weather today to make sure it cooperated and it did, so we were able to lift it," he said.
It's not just Hot Springs who keeps a close eye on fire risks during the holiday – the Arkansas Department of Agriculture is observing too.
"They talk to volunteer fire departments, sometimes they call us for advice," Robert Murphy, Emergency Services Director for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, said.
Murphy said this is a weekend to watch – more people are out celebrating, and we're headed towards a drier period.
"They're starting to get a little harder to control," Murphy said. "Those are all things that, you know, we'd love to see people practice fire safety while they're out."
Recommendations for fire safety from both organizations are simple – don't leave any fire unattended.
"There's lots of times we go to fires and somebody says, 'I just walked away for a minute,'" Murphy said. "That minute they walked away, it got out and we were called, so always stay with your fires and make sure they're out before you leave them."
Even though you might have plans of grilling or camping this weekend, plan on staying safe too.
"Simple one, be safe, be careful, be smart," Braughton said. "Have time and fellowship while you're out there, but also be mindful of if you are grilling or if you have a cookout or campout, just after it's over, be mindful of what you're doing."