Another round of extreme heat and dry conditions has prompted Jefferson County Judge Mike Holcomb to reinstate a burn ban lifted after recent rains over several days.
“This increases the level of fire danger tremendously,” Holcomb said of the current weather conditions. The reissued burn ban will start today “and continue until further notice.”
As of Monday afternoon, the only other Southeast Arkansas county under a burn ban was Drew. However, the Arkansas Forestry Commission reported that the entire state is considered to be at a high danger for wildfires. Fifty-five of the state’s 75 counties were under burn bans.
After a brief reprieve from record-setting heat, temperatures soared upward again Friday and Saturday to equal or break longtime highs at several Arkansas locations.
On Friday, Little Rock reached 108 degrees to shatter the old mark of 105, set in 1974.
On Saturday, 11 record highs were registered and three records were tied. Pine Bluff matched its record of 103, as did Mountain View and Sparkman. New marks were established at Morrilton and Cabot with 109 degrees; Dardanelle and Nimrod Dam with 108; Alum Park and Malvern with 107; Batesville Lock and Dam with 106; Nashville with 105; Leola with 103; Murfreesboro with 101; and 100 at Keo.
The state is also in the midst of drought. Parts of Central Arkansas are in exceptional drought, the most severe level, according to the AFC. A swath from Southwest to Northeast Arkansas is in extreme drought, and Northwestern to South Arkansas is in severe drought. Drought conditions have negatively impacted hay production in the state, creating hardships within the cattle industry.
The National Weather Service projected high temperatures in Pine Bluff from Wednesday through Sunday, respectively, are 99, 98, 97, 99 and 99. There’s a 40-percent chance of rain on Friday, but no more than 10 percent on any of the remaining days. Heat index readings will be several degrees higher.