Drought Leaves State “Extremely Dangerous”

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Things are dry from Northwest Arkansas to the River Valley. The U.S. Drought Monitor puts more than a quarter of the state in extreme drought.

“Dangerous, it’s not very safe out here. You gone pass out, bust your head,” said Eric Whitaker, of Fort Smith.

Every county in the 5NEWS viewing area is under a burn ban. “It’s really hot and dry,” said Jamie Johnson, of Van Buren.

Crawford County Emergency Management Director Dennis Gilstrap says it is dangerously dry. “If we get some wind and happen to get a fire, I mean that’s everything it takes to be a disaster,” he said.

The U.S. Drought Monitor now puts 36-percent of the state in extreme drought. That is up from 32-percent last week.

The experts say it will take more than just a sprinkle or a shower to get rain totals back to normal. “We need a good three, four day soaking rain, you know that actually soak in and do some good,” said Gilstrap.

Locals tired of the heat hope for cooler temperatures and some rain. “Look dry, look ashy. Need to put some lotion on the city,” said Whitaker.

Gilstrap said he does not remember a season being this dry since the 1980’s.