Police & Fire

Wildfire risk still high despite Wednesday rain

A round of thunderstorms that passed through Southwest Arkansas on Wednesday wasn’t enough to allow burning in Clark or surrounding counties.

This map shows the wildfire risks for Arkansas counties. Those in red are under an extreme wildfire danger risk, and those in orange are under a high wildfire danger risk. | Arkansas Forestry Commission

The Arkadelphia Fire Department on Thursday afternoon responded to an O’Connell Street residence to extinguish a grass fire. No homes were damaged as a result of that fire, but officials warned that even the smallest spark could ignite big trouble.

A burn ban remains in place for Clark County, the Office of Emergency Management announced Thursday. All outside burning, with the exception of covered cooking grills, is prohibited. Burning during a burn ban is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a $365 fine.

“Clark County is currently under an extreme risk of wildfire danger,” said OEM director Tate Chanler. “At this level, fires start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely, with every fire having the potential to become large. Extreme, erratic fire behavior is likely, making fires difficult to extinguish.”

Furthermore, Chanler added, a fire under these conditions put the lives of firefighters at risk as well as personal property. To report illegal burning, contact the Clark County Sheriff’s Office at 870-246-2222 or the Arkadelphia Police Department at 870-246-4545.

With the exception of four counties in northern Arkansas, the entire state remains under a burn ban.