Controlled burns: Fighting fire with fire

CARAWAY, AR (KAIT) - Warm weather and a lack of substantial rain has brought much of Arkansas into an early wildfire season.

Over the weekend, a strong northwest wind pushed extremely dry air into Region 8, prompting widespread Red Flag Warnings.

A high wildfire risk continues through the beginning of the week, as the next chance for rain arrives after Wednesday.

As burn bans begin to creep into Northern Arkansas, 16 prescribed burns have been called-in between the Arkansas Forestry Commission and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Nearly 600 acres across Region 8 are on the list of prescribed burns.

And now the AGFC is gearing up for battle.

These controlled burns are preventative measures, eliminating dead underbrush and other fuel buildup.

"We're going to attempt to burn 25 acres, but I'm sure not all that's going to burn because of the green-up."

Craighead and Independence Counties are listed among the controlled burn list.

As burn bans begin to creep into Northern Arkansas, Refuge Manager Jeremy Brown says the St. Francis Sunken Lands is in particular danger.

"Our focus here is to remove the fuel load on this grassland unit and to allow the sunlight to hit the soil to rejuvenate and start some new growth."

"We typically use our back burns to minimize the intensities of the fire and so we can monitor it a little better and control it ."

The wind was not quite as strong today, allowing Jeremy and his crew to manage the intensity and speed of the fire.

"It's pretty much a way to take away the fuel so the fire cannot continue to spread."

To see if your county is listed in a high wildfire danger, or to check for prescribed burns, click here.

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