El Dorado News

Monday
December 11, 2017
El Dorado News Times
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News-Times

Area residents warned about outdoor burning

Most of state sees abnormal dryness

By From News-Times and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports
This article was published November 25, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

The El Dorado Fire Department is warning area residents about outdoor burning as most of the state experiences abnormal dryness or drought conditions.

Union County is not under a burn ban, but five other counties in the state are as 97 percent of the state experiences dryness.

Burn bans have been implemented in Cleburne, Conway, Perry, Searcy and Van Buren counties.

According to the U.S. drought monitor website, Union County is in severe drought condition, along with the majority of Arkansas counties.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission said drought conditions and weather forecasts for low humidity and periodic gusty winds could create wildfire danger through the Thanksgiving weekend.

Residents should avoid outdoor burning and grilling altogether if winds exceed 5-10 mph, the agency said.

Arkansas Forestry Commission bulldozer crews will be on high alert through the holiday weekend. The commission’s pilots will assist by flying wildfire detection routes until the danger decreases.

Anyone can report wildfires to the commission’s dispatch center by calling (800) 468-8834 The center is staffed 24 hours a day.

Arkansas has had what the agency called “low wildfire activity” over the past four years.

So far this year, the agency said, the state has recorded 1,173 wildfires that have burned 20,931 acres. The most recent high wildfire year in Arkansas was 2012, when 34,434 acres burned in 2,148 wildfires, according to the Forestry Commission.

Last weekend, similar conditions resulted in 54 wildfires suppressed by crews on 502 acres.

Until it rains in the area, residents are urged to limit any outside fires and always monitor any outdoor flames.

To see drought reports, visit the U.S. drought monitor at droughtmonitor.uni.edu.

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