Forest Service Officials Issue Warning: Wildfire Risk Increasing


News release from the US Forest Service - November 4, 2016

 HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Lack of rainfall and dryness in Arkansas and Oklahoma have prompted Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests officials to ask the public to be mindful of increased wildfire risks. 

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, Little Rock, Ark., September and October were the two driest months of the year so far. 

"The combination of higher number of visitors to the forests, unusual warm weather this time of year, and lack of rain are all factors that make it very important for everyone to take steps in helping reduce the chances of a wildfire resulting from their actions," said Lance Elmore, forest fire and aviation staff officer for the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests. "During this time, fires are likely to burn more intensely and cover larger areas." 

Currently the southeastern United States is experiencing a high number of wildfires caused by the unusually dry and warm weather. Three of the region’s national incident management teams have been deployed to manage the increasingly severe situation. 

"Wildfire incidents are requiring that a large number of personnel and equipment to be mobilized from many areas of the country, including Arkansas and Oklahoma," Elmore said. "It is important to comply with any burn bans and fire restrictions in your area." 

For a current listing of burn bans in Arkansas and Oklahoma visit the Arkansas Forestry Commission website at www.arkfireinfo.org or the Oklahoma Forestry Services website at www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-information. For more information concerning fire management on both the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/FireInformation.