Arkansas Forestry Commission Wildfire Update 6/27/12

LITTLE ROCK, ARK – Arkansas Forestry Commission suppressed wildfires in all eight fire districts yesterday. AFC 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.

The AFC strongly discourages any outside burning including discharge of fireworks. Today the AFC delivered a letter to the County Judges’ Association President Preston Scroggin, encouraging all counties to be placed under burn bans that include bans on discharge of fireworks. (see attached letter) County Judges have issued burn bans in 55 of the 75 counties in Arkansas as of June 27, 2012.

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.

1) Pay attention to burn bans and fire conditions available via radio, TV or websites. While burn bans are posted at http://www.arkansasfireinfo.org, the list may not be complete. Contact your county judge’s office for specifics in your area.

2) Fire danger is rated as “High” across the state and open burning is discouraged. It is prohibited in counties with burn bans.

3) Be mindful that sparks from lawn mowers and hay baling equipment can start fires.

4) Never park vehicles where grass or other vegetation can touch the exhaust system.

5) Never discard cigarettes from vehicles.

FireWise is a nationwide program that promotes creating a defensible space around homes to help protect buildings from wildfire. Communities and fire departments can earn state and national recognition by participation in the FireWise program and fire departments can become eligible for grants. By using FireWise construction techniques and landscaping techniques, both old and new buildings can be FireWise. For tips on protecting your home from wildfire, visit http://www.arkansasfirewise.com.

To view current burn bans and wildfire danger ratings, visit http://www.arkansasforestry.org. To report a wildfire, call the Arkansas Forestry Commission Dispatch Center at 1-800-468-8834, or 911.