Burn bans going into effect on Thursday

By David Showers
This article was published July 11, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

Dry conditions have persisted despite sporadic rainfall the past few days, leading Garland County and Hot Springs to impose bans on outdoor burning effective Thursday at 8 a.m.

County Judge Rick Davis said Tuesday that he's issuing a burn ban order based on the drought index reported by the Arkansas Forestry Commission. A 727 index was reported Tuesday for AFC's six-county District 5 region, which includes Garland County.

The zero-to-800 scale measures moisture levels in the top 8 inches of the soil, with zero representing full saturation and 800 extreme drought. The AFC said the index has been climbing since the first of the month.

"We're not getting enough rain," Davis said. "What we have gotten is scattered and light. It'll be raining on one side of the street but not the other. We were thankful we got by the Fourth of July without having to do it."

The city airport at Hot Springs Memorial Field reported four days of measurable rain during the first nine days of July, including a 0.49-inch total Friday. Accumulations over that time are more than four-tenths of an inch less than normal.

"Unless we get quite a bit of rain, we're going to continue to see the ground cover dry out," Hot Springs Fire Chief Ed Davis said. "We're seeing the grass begin to dry out, and the leaves on the trees not being as bright. We're headed toward having some brush fires."

The 1.84 inches the airport reported in June were 2.88 inches fewer than the monthly average. Most of the month's rainfall fell June 8, when the airport reported 1.62 inches. It was one of five days in June with measurable rainfall.

The 28.61 inches reported for the year are more than eight-tenths of an inch below average. February accounts for almost half the total, with its 13.76 inches 9.63 inches more than the monthly average.

Carroll County in rural northwest Arkansas was the only county under a burn ban Tuesday, according to the AFC's website. Garland County is among a band of counties stretching from the state's southwest to northeast under moderate wildfire danger.

Local on 07/11/2018
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