ARKANSAS, USA — The River Valley, Northwest Arkansas as well as other parts of the state were hit pretty hard with extreme heat, causing dry conditions.
Counties across Arkansas issued burn bans due to the scorching hot temperatures and dry areas. Those burn bans in our area have since been canceled after we received inches of rain in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.
The Arkansas Forestry Commission said it hopes burn bans across the state are enough to prevent fires, as they expect dangerous conditions to last a while.
"Fires are going to escape control very easily right now, they're going to burn very aggressively,” District 6 Forester Jeff Frizzell said. “We really have to be conscious and careful of parking vehicles in tall grass, even mowing and bushogging right now, we can hit a rock and spark a wildfire."
Frizzell says we won’t see relief from the fire danger until there is a significant amount of rainfall and humidity.
In Oklahoma, Haskell County is still under a burn ban at this time.
Springdale Fire Chief Blake Holte cautioned against any outdoor burning even if that area does get some rain.
"A lot of times people think anytime it rains, it's ok to start burning; it's not,” Holte said. “You need to monitor because when it's hot and windy and sunny, the rain evaporates quickly, the fine fuels dry out again, and so wait for the burn bans to be lifted before people decide to burn."
Firefighters suggest moving any combustible materials -- like firewood and leave away from your house. They caution against using outdoor equipment that produces hot exhaust particles, which can ignite a fire. Frizzell said it is ok to use an outdoor grill as long as proper safety measures are followed.
"Be very conscious of with charcoal grill, where those ashes are falling, how we're disposing of those ashes," Frizzell said.
If your county has issued a burn ban, you are warned not to do any outdoor burning. This includes things such as campfires or bonfires.
The burn bans also apply to the outdoor burning of trash, debris, brush and all other materials. Officials say lawns, fields and wooded areas are exceptionally dry.
As of Friday, July 22, Sebastian County announced it had canceled the burn ban.
All of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley have been put into the 'high' risk category for wildfires.
Early this week the entire state of Arkansas was at a moderate fire danger level.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Little Rock says the recent and persistent high temperatures across the state coupled with little rain have put parts of the state under a high fire danger level.
The Arkansas Forestry Division notes that under high risk, fires ignite easily and spread quickly. If left unattended, brush and campfires are likely to escape and spread. Officials say that these fires may become serious if not attacked early.
Stay with 5NEWS for updates on when these bans will be lifted.
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