Despite some “soaking rains” in portions of Jefferson County over the weekend, the burn ban imposed by County Judge Dutch King on July 1o is still in effect.
“The rain was just too sporadic,” King said Monday. “I know there are some folks wanting to burn and I wish I could lift the ban, but I talked with the Arkansas Forestry Commission and I’m told if we lift it we’ll probably have to put it right back on again. It’s supposed to be hot and dry for the next several days. I think I need to wait until the middle of the week before I make any other decision.”
As King pointed out, the recent rains didn’t blanket the county. While water stood in streets in some areas, the National Weather Service’s local reporting station — Grider Field — received only traces of precipitation.
“I would rather be safe than sorry,” King said. “Even though we did have some good rain in spots, I don’t think it would be right to lift the ban for the whole county. In some areas, things might be too dry and a fire could get out of control fairly quickly. I’ve seen it happen before.”
The county had plenty of rain and cool temperatures during the spring, but a run of hot and dry conditions prompted the judge to implement the ban.
“We don’t need to take any chances when it comes to the public’s safety and the safety of our firefighters,” King said. “It’s just not worth it.”
The NWS was reporting Monday that the chance of precipitation in Jefferson County through Sunday was 20 percent.