KAWX News

USFS Officials Remind Visitors Of Wildfire Dangers

Report wildfires by dialing 911. Polk County, AR, as well as most counties in the state, are under BURN BANS.

 

With extreme temperatures forecasted for Arkansas and Oklahoma, Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests officials are asking visitors to maintain awareness of increased wildfire risks.

 

During periods of high temperatures, visitors should use alternatives to campfires, even when there are no restrictions.

 

“If visitors are going to use campfires, they can reduce wildfire danger by using existing fire rings and ensuring those campfires are completely out,” said Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests Fire and Aviation Staff Officer, Josh Graham. “As the temperatures increase, it is important that the public exercise caution as they enjoy their public lands.”

 

When traveling through the forests, visitors should never park on dry brush or grass. Heat from the muffler on the bottom of an ATV/UTV or motor vehicle could start fires. Ensure that there is nothing dragging behind vehicles or trailers that could cause sparks and potentially start a fire.

 

Robert Murphy, Director of Emergency Services for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, recommends taking additional precautions when driving or operating machinery.

 

“It’s important to remain cautious when driving through or working in dry grass,” Murphy said. “Trucks, ATVs, hay balers, and other vehicles are often hazardous in hot, dry conditions.”

 

In Oklahoma, state officials are concerned with the drying trend and impact it is having on their fire danger, according to Andy James, the fire management chief for the Oklahoma Forestry Services.

 

“We are prepared for this situation, staffing seven days a week to provide coverage and protection to the state,” he said. “We will continue coordinated response working with all agencies; fire departments, Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and forest industry and landowners.” 

 

Before going hiking or camping, check with the forest, grassland or ranger district for fire restrictions or area closures.

 

For more information, contact the Ouachita National Forest at (501) 321-5202 or the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests at (479) 964-7200.

 

Online, information can also be obtained on the Ouachita National Forest Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ouachitanf or the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ozarkstfrancis/.

 

Report wildfires by dialing 911. Polk County, AR, as well as most counties in the state, are under BURN BANS.

 

7-15-22 4:01 PM KAWX.ORG