Tuesday, November 28, 2017

TOP STORY >> Drought triggers burn bans here

Pulaski, Lonoke and White counties, along with 26 other counties in Arkansas, are under burn bans.

About half the state has severe drought conditions, and the other half is in moderate drought or is abnormally dry, according to the National Weather Service.

As a result, wildfires have been a persistent problem this month. The Arkansas Forestry Commission announced Monday that 196 wildfires burned more than 3,106 acres in November with 1,805 acres burned over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

That data only includes fires on private land and not public lands like state and national parks and forests, where several fires are also raging.

Smoke from fires in national forests in Perry and Johnson counties could drift into the central Arkansas area today and Thursday.

“Current drought conditions and weather forecasts for low humidity and gusty winds create elevated wildfire danger across Arkansas through this week,” according to the Forestry Commission’s statement.

The following counties are also under burn bans: Ashley, Bradley, Boone, Carroll, Clark, Cleburne, Conway, Drew, Faulkner, Fulton, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Independence, Jefferson, Madison, Montgomery, Ouachita, Perry, Polk, Saline, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren and Yell.

So far this year, 1,288 wildfires having burned 22,849 acres across Arkansas. In 2012, one of the worst years for wildfires, there were 2,148 wildfires, which burned 34,434 acres.

Residents are asked to report wildfires by calling 1-800-468-8834.