Breaking News
More () »

Dry conditions increase the number of burn bans across Arkansas & Oklahoma

Lack of rain and ongoing dry conditions have brought on burn bans across Arkansas and Oklahoma. Officials are asking people not to burn anything outside.

ARKANSAS, USA — The entire state of Arkansas is under a high wildfire danger, and the majority of Arkansas is under a burn ban.

“Sixty-one counties out of the 75 counties in Arkansas are now under burn bans,” said Arkansas State Forester with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Joe Fox.

In Oklahoma, Sequoyah, LeFlore, and Adair Counties are also under burn bans.

Benton County Director of Comminutions Melody Kwok explains what is not allowed during a burn ban. "Bonfires, burning leaves, burning any vegetation in your yard.”

Division Chief of the Fire Marshal’s Office, Fort Smith Fire Department Tommy Bishop says even if you currently have a burn permit, the burn ban overrides it. “If you’re on private property or public property all burning ceases.”

He is also asking people to be cautious of how the small things could create significant problems.

“Somebody could just flick a cigarette and there goes the neighborhood,” Bishop said.

If caught breaking any burn ban rules the first time you will receive a warning. The next time, you could be arrested or have to pay a fine.

“They could be fined up to $500 per incident,” Bishop said.

Local, county and state officials blame the need for the burn bans on a lack of rain, low humidity, and dry conditions.

"Conditions are very dry right now," Kwok said. "Just one stray spark coming off it can light up your yard and spread quickly.”

That's why officials ask everyone to still use caution when using items such as the grill and small bond fires.

“And for goodness sake please don’t flick any cigarette buds out anywhere,” Fox said.

In Arkansas, burn bans will remain in place until the county judge lifts it. In Oklahoma, it's up to the county commissioner.

“The burn ban is in place until further notice. We don’t have any significant rain in the forecast,” Kwok said.

Local, county and state officials say the amount of burn bans issued in 2023 is unusual. Kwok says Benton County has had two judge-ordered burn bans this year alone.

RELATED: List of counties under burn bans in Northwest Arkansas, River Valley

RELATED: Officials: All Arkansas counties under high wildfire risk

Follow 5NEWS on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Download the 5NEWS app on your smartphone:

Stream 5NEWS 24/7 on the 5+ app: How to watch the 5+ app on your streaming device

To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com and detail which story you're referring to.

Before You Leave, Check This Out