BY MELANIE BUCK –
Eight grass fires were battled around the county from Monday through Wednesday afternoon with many beginning as controlled burns that got out of hand. The most recent two occurred on Wednesday. Members of the Shady Grove Volunteer Fire Department were called to an out of control grass fire on Skyline Drive, just west of Mena, on Wednesday morning just after 11 a.m. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames that were located in a very hilly and rocky area and were able to keep it away from any structures.
On Wednesday afternoon, around 3 p.m., Ink Fire Department was called to the Ouachita Country Club Golf Course on Highway 88, east of Mena. A controlled burn there had gotten out of control and the wide fire took out a swath of dead grass, weeds, and natural debris before firefighters gained control of the area.
On Tuesday, Acorn Fire Department battled a large grass fire in the Rich Mountain Community that also began as a controlled burn. Acorn Fire Chief Kris Lyle, said the fire burned approximately 16 acres. Acorn Fire Department called upon Ink and Dallas Valley Volunteer Fire Departments for mutual aid. Arkansas Forestry and U.S. Forestry were also on scene with three dozers. Lyle said it took around 30 minutes after arrival to deem the area safe around structures, but in all, it took about three hours to fully contain the blaze. “It all stayed on private land but got very close to National Forest,” said Lyle.
Dry conditions, low humidity, and strong winds can often combine to create dangerous brush and wildland fires. Arid and windy conditions can lead to wildfire dangers at any time of year. The most common months for wildfire frequency in Arkansas are February thru April and August thru October, due to low humidity, dry vegetation, and gusty winds common for those months. Citizens are advised to check their area weather and fire danger monitors before burning.