Drew and Desha counties in Southeast Arkansas are among the state’s six counties that had not issued burn bans as of 3 p.m. Thursday. Bradley County Judge Keith Neely issued a burn ban which went into effect at 3 p.m. Thursday. Lincoln, Chicot, and Ashley counties are among the counties that had previously issued bans.
On Wednesday, the Arkansas Forestry Commission delivered a letter to County Judges’ Association president Preston Scroggin, encouraging all counties to be placed under burn bans, including a ban on the discharge of fireworks.
Drew County Judge Damon Lampkin declined to issue a burn ban because a number of local organizations and groups, including one rural fire department, had already planned fundraisers and barbeques for the Fourth of July. Fireworks are expected to be a part of some of those fundraisers.
“People just need to use common sense,” Lampkin said. “They’re going to be responsible if they let a fire get out of control whether there is a burn ban or not.”
The Arkansas Forestry Commission suppressed wildfires in all eight of the state’s fire districts on Tuesday.
Fire crews suppressed 20 wildfires that burned 240 acres. No homes were lost, but four homes were threatened. Two outbuildings were lost, and two outbuildings were threatened.
Over the previous weekend, crews suppressed 21 wildfires that burned 915 acres, according to the letter the Forestry Commission sent to the County Judge’s Association encouraging the judges to issue burn bans.
The AFC, in a Wednesday news release, strongly discouraged any outside burning including the discharge of fireworks.
With no rain in the forecast and a high fire danger risk, the Forestry Commission is recommending extreme caution to help prevent fire damage during the holiday weekend. The commission recommends:
Pay attention to burn bans and fire conditions available via radio, TV or websites.
Fire danger is rated as “High” across the state and open burning is discouraged. It is prohibited in counties with burn bans.
Be mindful that sparks from lawn mowers and hay baling equipment can start fires.
Never park vehicles where grass or other vegetation can touch the exhaust system.
Never discard cigarettes from vehicles.
To report a wildfire, call the Arkansas Forestry Commission Dispatch Center at 1-800-468-8834, or 911.