Wildfires do damage in northeast Arkansas

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

PLEASANT PLAINS, AR (KAIT) –The first day of spring sprung on Sunday, and already state forestry officials are urging you to take caution when you clean up your yard.

Burned leaves, trees and earth are the grim reminder of a fire that tore through this part of Pleasant Plains Monday.

"Started off with a structure fire and resulted with a grass fire," said Pleasant Plains Volunteer Firefighter Robert Beel.

"Wind was blowing and gusting real hard and it started pushing the fire on out across the woods," said Darryl Capps, another volunteer with the Pleasant Plains Volunteer Fire Department.

The fire, which took more than three hours to knock out, consumed ten acres.

"Fire progresses in size and doubles in size in two minutes and on a windy day it will be quicker so it takes it and runs with it," said Beel.

What is left of this trailer house is still smoldering.  Firefighters said they didn't expect the fire to be as bad when they were called out.

"One minute you can have a little fire sitting right there and then you can have the wind come and push it through there," said Pleasant Plains Volunteer Firefighter Heath Guinn.

Independence County is one of seven counties in Region 8 at high risk for wildfires.

"The fire danger right now is mostly the undergrowth from the past winter," said Beel.

"We haven't had rainfall in a few days and as windy as it is it dries things out a lot quicker," said Capps

Which makes it easier to catch fire.

"It can be pretty bad, you know, if we get called out on something and the wind starts pushing it through," said Guinn.

If you do plan to burn leaves and other dry yard waste, there is a warning to pass along.

"If you're going to burn on windy days it's not a good idea.  If you are going to burn stay with the fire," said Beel.

There are 22 volunteer firefighters on the Pleasant Plains Fire Department.  At any given time during the day there are only about five that are available to help fight a fire.

No burn bans have been issued for the area.

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