Arkansas Wildfire Preparations, Training Underway

FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. - Wildfire season is upon us. 

To help stay ahead of the threat, the Arkansas Prescribed Fire Council is fighting fire with fire. Literally! 

This September, conditions in Arkansas are ripe for wildfires.

"We had a flush of green. All the green grass, the pastures, they were all green and now are brown. And that's fuel for fire," Joe Fox, the State Forester of Arkansas said.. 

Over the last 5 years, the state has experienced wet seasons.

While the moisture and humidity are a natural barrier against fires, they also help plants grow. 

"Those brown out and we can see right now brown leaves on trees. That's really from a drought condition and not from the fall," Fox said. 

 One way to protect forests from wildfires is through prescribed burns. 

The low, slow fires during times of moderate humidity and light winds allow dead vegetation to burn and make room for healthy plants to thrive. 

Every burn has a goal with trained professionals keeping a close eye and heavy equipment on standby. 

Wednesday 40 students with the Arkansas Prescribed Fire School, a week long program for professionals already in the forestry business, put  their studies into action. 

"The prescribed fire school is to prepare professionals to go all over the state and do prescribed fire on private land, on public land, for industry, for state and federal agencies," Fox said. 

From wildfire prevention, to habitat improvement, re-farming and forest insect/disease control, the list of benefits is long for controlled burns. 

The best conditions for a controlled burn is right before fire season starts. 

Currently 6 counties in Central Arkansas are under burn bans including Faulkner, Conway, White, Van Buren, Cleburne and Lincoln. 

For a complete list of prescribed burning tips, click here.


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