Outdoor burning discouraged for opening weekend of muzzleloading season, beyond

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    LITTLE ROCK – Due to current and predicted
    high wildfire conditions, outdoor
    burning is discouraged across Arkansas. 51
    Arkansas counties are under active Burn
    Bans, which are declared by County Judges.
    53 Arkansas counties have been declared
    under High Wildfire Danger by Arkansas Forestry
    Commission (AFC) personnel and fire
    weather specialists. The National Weather
    Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for
    south, central, and east Arkansas through
    the weekend. Yesterday was among the highest
    days for wildfire frequency in Arkansas
    for 2015, with approximately 28 wildfires,
    and more than 500 acres burned.
    With so many expected in the woods this
    weekend, for the opening of muzzleloading
    season and optimal hiking/camping weather,
    the AFC is working harder than ever to
    spread the word about the necessity for
    wildfire safety and wildfire awareness until
    weather conditions change. As of yesterday
    at 3 p.m., 12,732 acres have burned in Arkansas,
    at 996 reported wildfires. Yesterday,
    approximately 500+ acres burned in approximately
    28 wildfires (total numbers are still
    be tallied from fire reports). 2015 wildfire
    statistics are relatively low compared to the
    last year of high Arkansas wildfire frequency
    –which was 2012, when 34,434 acres burned.
    In both 2013 and 2014, Arkansas experienced
    lower-than-normal wildfire frequency. Arkansas
    has had good growing seasons this
    year and the previous two years, alongside
    fewer wildfires,
    which also means more fuels are on the
    ground for wildfires to burn.
    “The unusually dry and
    hot conditions for October
    add to the problem of low
    humidity and gusty winds,
    all on a weekend when many
    Arkansans will be in the
    woods,” State Forester Joe
    Fox said.
    “We encourage Arkansans
    to enjoy our forests and
    wildlife, however, we stress
    heavily to use extreme caution
    with any type of flames,
    to avoid all outdoor burning,
    and to report wildfires
    quickly,” he said.
    October is a normal time
    of year for Arkansas to experience
    heightened wildfire
    danger, however the dry
    conditions and low humidity
    present unique conditions
    which contribute to heightened
    wildfire danger.
    Due to conditions, most
    AFC personnel will not be
    hunting, but will be on full
    alert to respond to wildfire
    emergencies. Ground crews
    and dozers are available to
    respond to all counties.
    Four Single Engine Air
    Tanker (SEAT) planes are
    available to assist via aerial
    wildfire suppression by
    dropping water from the air.
    The AFC works in full partnership
    with the Arkansas
    Department of Emergency
    Management and the Arkansas
    Governor’s Office
    to respond to emergencies
    quickly.
    Report wildfires to the
    AFC Dispatch Center at:
    1-800-468-8834.
    What can hunters, hikers,
    and campers do to help with
    wildfire safety?
    · Call the AFC Dispatch
    Center to report wildfires
    at 1-800-468-8834. Report
    emergencies by calling 911.
    · Make sure you stay
    updated on current Burn
    Bans (51). See map of all
    Burn Bans reported to AFC
    Dispatch at arkfireinfo.org
    and/or contact your local
    Sherriff’s Office or County
    Judge’s Office. Remember,
    only County Judges declare
    official county Burn Bans in
    Arkansas.
    · During conditions of low
    humidity, gusty wind, and
    dry vegetation – which are
    currently present – avoid
    outdoor burning of any kind.
    · Avoid building campfires
    of any kind until conditions
    change, across Arkansas.
    ·While hunting, make sure
    that any sparks caused by
    firing a muzzleloader are
    quickly stomped out or put
    out with water. Vegetation
    is dry; sparks may create
    flames quickly.
    · Transporting equipment
    to deer camp? Make sure you
    are not dragging chains as
    you drive. Chains can create
    sparks, which transfer
    flames to multiple locations
    at once. Keep a watchful eye
    in your rear view mirrors.
    ·Avoid throwing cigarettes
    from vehicles; or from
    porches or tents at deer
    camps, as grass and vegetation
    on the forest floor is
    very dry.
    ·Be watchful of machinery
    and equipment causing
    sparks and igniting the grass
    or pastureland.
    ·If undertaking an agricultural
    burn: stay with the
    burn until it is completed;
    keep water resources nearby;
    burn only in low wind.
    Stay updated on Wildfire
    Danger and Burn Bans
    reported to AFC Dispatch
    at www.arkfireinfo.org and/
    or facebook.com/Arkansas-
    ForestryCommission and @
    ARForestryComm.
    Find contact information
    for your local AFC Crew by
    visiting forestry.arkansas.
    gov and choosing the “Contact
    Us” icon in the upper
    right of the homepage.
    The mission of the Arkansas
    Forestry Commission
    is to protect Arkansas’s
    forests, and those who enjoy
    them, from wildland fire
    and natural hazards while
    promoting rural and urban
    forest health, stewardship,
    development, and conservation
    for all generations of
    Arkansans.

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