June 25, 2012 at 3:04 PM CDT - Updated June 27 at 9:03 AM
JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Stagnant and dry, hot weather has settled in to Region 8.
Burn bans blanket the western half of Region 8 as the yearly rainfall deficit increases to 10 inches.
Hundreds of acres of forest land have burned over the last 7 days across the state of Arkansas, and we're spending yet another day engulfed in a high wildfire danger.
However, recent rain and a differing landscape than central Arkansas has kept Craighead County Judge Ed Hill and other judges from issuing restrictions quite so early.
Hill says we could be under tight burn restrictions as early as next week if we don't pick up a good bit of rain.
"I've actually read some articles in the paper and seen the news reports, and talked to some of the judges. You know, it's getting to the critical stage. I heard on the radio also this morning that 80 plus percent of the state of Arkansas is under severe drought."
A drought that is now considered long-term, 6 months or longer.
Judge Hill says he is in contact with the Jonesboro Fire Department as weather conditions worsen.
"Really be careful and not burn unless they have to. And if we don't get a significant rain and things don't change a little bit, we're going to have to issue a burn ban."
Among the list of growing fire hazards: highly-flammable pine needles.
Judge Hill advises residents not to use wood stoves or fireplaces, avoid fire pits, and refrain from shooting fireworks...although the fourth of July is next week.