Rain Brings Promise of Relief from Fires in Drought-Stricken Arkansas

JANUARY 10, 2006 - Posted at 8:04 a.m. CST

HAMBURG, AR - As rainstorms make their way across Arkansas as hope to quench the drought-starved and wildfire ridden state, firefighters say they're keeping an eye on Ashley County to make sure a major wildfire that burned there yesterday doesn't spark again.

Firefighters say they planned to patrol the area for weeks even after they have assurances the fire is out.  The fire chased one family away and burned their home.  It also destroyed eight other buildings.  The Ashley County sheriff suspects the blaze was arson.

For months, Arkansas has suffered from a drought.  And for days, most of the state has been under a burn ban and firefighters have been battling wildfires.

For a state in dire need of rain to help keep wildfires at bay, National Weather Service forecasters say rain should continue today.  Rain began falling in Jonesboro at approximately 11 p.m. Monday night, and continues to fall.  K8 Forecaster Chris Castleman says he anticipates Jonesboro will have received approximately a half-inch of rainfall by noon today. Parts of central and southeastern Arkansas could get more than an inch of rain and lesser amounts were expected in western Arkansas, among the driest part of the state.  Another front is likely on Thursday or Friday.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)