NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — The lack of rain and high temperatures across Arkansas has led to most of Central and Northern Arkansas going under a burn ban. There’s also a wildfire warning across the entire state.
As of Monday, over 40 counties were listed as having a burn ban in effect— including in Madison County. Huntsville Fire Chief, Kevin Shinn, said people in the area need to take the classification seriously.
“Just don’t burn. Don’t think that you’re going to be able to control it because things get out of hand quicker than you would imagine,” said Shinn.
You should also be mindful of unintentional ways you could start a fire. It can even start with your vehicle.
“Whether it’s your exhaust, whether you’re carrying some kind of chains or equipment on your rigs that might fall loose, make sure those are bundled up and secured,” said Shinn.
Large fires are not just a danger to your property.
“You start getting these individuals trying to fight this kind of fire in these kinds of conditions,” said Shinn. “Whether it’s the firefighters responding or the person who did it accidently — the chance for somebody to go into cardiac arrest or to have a heat stroke is significant,” said Shinn.
Even though there wasn’t a burn ban in Washington County on Wednesday, Devil’s Den State Park officials said they were prepared if one were to go into effect.
“Throughout the park on all the bulletin boards, we will place signs that there are burn bans. We also have large signs that we’ll place at the park entrance,” said Devil’s Den State Park Assistant Superintendent Tim Scott.
According to Scott, when conditions are dry a wildfire is always possible. So, they advise guests at the park to be cautious even when a burn ban isn’t in place.
“We will caution our guests to keep the fire small. So, there might be no sparks or embers that will get out into a leaf cluster and start a fire,” said Scott.
If a fire does ignite during a burn ban, even if you were acting illegally, Shinn said you should contact authorities immediately.
“Call 911 immediately so we can get people rolling, no matter which county you’re in. You want to get resources rolling that direction as quickly as you can,” said Shinn.
If you aren’t sure if your county is under a burn ban, you can go to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s website.