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Fire danger high; Burn ban in place

Logan County Judge Gus Young issued a ban on outdoor burning in the county last week and, according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the wildfire danger is high all over the state.

“Until we get some more rainfall, it’s going to be tough,” Dustin Krigbaum of the Forestry Commission’s office in Logan County said last week. “The fuel load right now is high, the humidity is low and we’ve got high winds. There’s a lot of dead grass out there. We’re going to have elevated fire risk until things green up in the spring. We could be under a burn ban until the spring.”

A fire last week on Cotton Town Road burned five acres of grass and one acre of woodland, Krigbaum said. He said the fire was “possibly started by someone burning trash.”

Also, Rob Kopack, a ranger with the U.S. Forest Service office in Paris, said a Friday, Jan. 17 fire on Mount Magazine burned 188 acres and the cause is under investigation.

The fire was south of Mount Magazine State Park. About 25 to 30 firemen fought the blaze, Kopack said. Firemen on the scene were from the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the U.S. Forest Service, Arkansas State Parks and rural fire departments from Logan County. No one was injured and no structures were lost, Kopack said. The fire was put out on Sunday, Jan. 19.

Kopack said high winds contributed to the spread of the fire.

“That was one of the challenges in fighting this fire, winds were high Friday and Saturday,” Kopack said. “They calmed down Sunday.”

Kopack also said there was a lot of fuel for the fire.

“Because of damage from an ice storm, the broken tops of trees were catching fire and sending out embers,” he said. “In some cases, it looked like fireworks out there.”

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