Recent snowfall doesn't slow grass fires - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Recent snowfall doesn't slow grass fires

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Last week, everything from the roads to the trees in northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri were covered in snow. Fast forward to the present and we're dealing with grass fires.

County Ranger Thomas Lindsey with the Arkansas Forestry Commission said, "After that snow and cold spell we got it didn't take long with the sun out and the wind blowing like it has been to dry it up."

Not only have the recent weather conditions dried us out, they are also perfect fuel for fires.

"You got all that debris building up and it doesn't take much sunlight and wind conditions to dry that fuel out to the point that a landowner could have a problem burning," said Lindsey.

Since midnight Sunday there have been 22 grass fires in Craighead County alone. With the ongoing drought from last year and the forecast ahead, Lindsey expects the conditions to only get worse.

Lindsey said, "Our fire season usually starts right now and goes from now until usually the first of April." 

He said when the weather gets nice people are out cleaning up their yard and burning the loose debris. However, now is not the best time to be burning.

"I would definitely try to avoid it right now because the winds are just too strong right now and they are not predictable. One time they are going from one direction the next time they are blowing a different direction," said Lindsey.

If you are going to be burning in the future there are some precautions you should take to prevent a fire from getting out of control. 

Lindsey said, "If you got to burn, burn late in the evening or early in the morning when the winds are calmer and keep your fires in a small contained area and not try to burn it all at one time."

As of right now there are no counties under a burn ban, but Lindsey said if these conditions continue and more fires ignite, they may be issued.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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