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Seeing smoke? Controlled burns happening throughout Arkansas

Several thousand acres in our area are under a controlled burn today, March 20.

ARKANSAS, USA — According to the Arkansas Forestry Division, prescribed burns, including Benton, Madison, Scott and Washington counties combined with winds are causing many to see and smell smoke in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley on Monday.

AFD's website says the prescribed burns began at between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on March 20.

The list of locations and amount of acres burned:

Benton County: 

  • 500 acres — two miles east of Garfield (ending around 3 p.m.)

Madison County: 

  • 1,349 acres — 12 miles southeast of St. Paul
  • 486 acres — 8 miles northeast of Huntsville

Scott County:

  • 3,673 acres — 16 miles east of Waldron
  • 40 acres — 12 miles southeast of Waldron

Washington County:

  • 50 acres — .2 miles north of Greenland

Logan County:

  • 2,654 acres —three miles south of Subiaco (ending at 5 p.m.)
  • 80 acres — five miles south of Subiaco
  • 40 acres — 6.5 miles south of Knoxville
  • 250 acres — three miles south of Magazine

Crawford County:

  • 22 acres — five miles north of Cedarville

The burns are all ending at around midnight unless otherwise stated, according to the AFD.

The AFD chooses days when rain is in the forecast to help mitigate risk, with vegetation still fairly wet it's easier to control the blaze.

Light south winds help crews plan the direction of the burn. It's not too windy to bring a fire out of control.

Credit: 5NEWS

Prescribed fire is a planned fire; it is also sometimes called a “controlled burn” or “prescribed burn." 

According to the National Parks Service, controlled burns are an important tool used to manage fire. "A scientific prescription for each fire, prepared in advance, describes its objectives, fuels, size, the precise environmental conditions under which it will burn, and conditions under which it may be suppressed." 

The fire may be designed to create a mosaic of diverse habitats for plants and animals, to help endangered species recover, or to reduce fuels and thereby prevent a destructive fire, the NPS says.

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