With one county house lost to a wildfire, Lonoke County Judge Dough Erwin on Friday issued a burn ban in the county. With the continuing dry conditions, there is no open burning permitted until further notice.
According to information from the County Judge’s office, north Lonoke County for about two weeks was plagued with fires, keeping the volunteer fire departments busy with fires in their own districts and responding to calls for mutual aid from other districts.
Erwin issued the ban after a home on Lemay Loop was lost to a wildfire that began as a trash fire.
Statewide information from the Arkansas Forestry Commission is that there were 48 wildfires this past weekend, alone. Suppression by firefighters is credited for saving 21 homes.
State forester Joe Fox “strongly” advised against any outdoor burning.
“Crews from the Arkansas Forestry Commission have worked 237 fires so far in January of 2014. That is equal to 30 percent of all wildfires fought last year in Arkansas,” Fox said in a press release on Monday. This year is shaping up as much more dangerous for wildfires than was seen last year, he said.
Burns bans are now in effect in 50 counties
Most of the fires over the weekend burned between 5 and 10 acres. A total of 127 acres burned over the weekend, not including a fire in the Ouachita National Forest near lake Lake Ouachita State Park that began Friday and had burned about 2,000 acres by Monday afternoon.
Another 13 fires burned across 68 acres on Monday, according to the Forestry Commission.
The commission said its crews have worked 237 fires so far this month, or 30 percent of the total number of wildfires fought in all of 2013.
Counties with burn bans in effect Monday were Ashley, Baxter, Boone, Benton, Carroll, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Cleveland, Conway, Crawford, Dallas, Drew, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Garland, Grant, Greene, Hot Spring, Howard, Independence, Izard, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Logan, Lonoke, Madison, Marion, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Pike, Prairie, Polk, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Searcy, Sebastian, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, Washington, White, Woodruff, and Yell.