BY MELANIE BUCK –
The U.S. Forestry Service and Arkansas Forestry Commission battled a blaze for two days in the Dallas Mountain and Bethesda Lake area before finally reaching containment status on Friday afternoon, February 19th. The fire was originally started in late January, before the current burn ban was put into effect, and was thought to have been extinguished at that time. However, after high winds stoked the fire from deep in the area where an illegal trash dump is said to be, more than 108 acres have been lost.
Polk County Emergency Management Coordinator James Reeves said the blaze could have been the result of a stump or rotten tree that had roots burning under the ground and with the low humidity and dry, dead vegetation in the area, high winds could have stoked the flames back up. The Dallas Mountain Fire caused smoke to impact a large area that included the Mena Airport, Ink and Nunley for much of Thursday and Friday.
Due to high fire activity condition, there have been burn bans placed in 23 counties in Arkansas. However, Polk County’s burn ban that has been in place since early February, has been lifted as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, February 23, 2016, per Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison.