Police & Fire

OEM: Conditions too dry for burning

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

A brush fire Thursday afternoon that prompted the response of three agencies has officials cautioning the public not to burn.

Shortly before 12:30 p.m. dispatchers requested Arkadelphia and DeGray fire departments to respond to the 2700 block of Country Club Road, situated between W.P. Malone and Club drives, after a motorist phoned 911 to report a brush fire that appeared to be growing out of control. The Arkadelphia Fire Department would go on to request the assistance of the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

A large pile of dead brush burns Thursday near a field behind The Pentacostal Church of Arkadelphia. An Arkadelphia fire truck is seen in the distance. | The Arkadelphian/Joel Phelps

The forestry service brought a bulldozer to the scene to contain the blaze. Firefighters remained on scene to douse some “hot spots” that jumped the firebreak line the dozer cut. No homes or structures were damaged, but a total of about 5 acres burned.

Assistant Fire Chief Andy Neel said the property owners set fire to a pile of dead vegetation and brush.

While there is no burn ban in effect for Clark County, the forestry service has all of the state but the northeastern corner under a “moderate” risk for wildfire danger. County judges have the authority to instate burn bans.

Tate Chanler, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management, is urging residents to avoid burning. “Current dry conditions and high winds make it very dangerous to burn,” Chanler posted on social media after the fire. “We ask you to please refrain from burning until conditions improve.”

Neighboring Pike and Montgomery counties are under a burn ban.

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