Arkansas Forestry Commission: 2017 Has Higher Wildfire Potential

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ARKANSAS (KFSM) — On Thursday (Jan. 19) the Arkansas Forestry Commission released an evaluation of 2016 wildfire activity.

The commission noted that 2016 was a relatively low year for fire activity, although it was up a little higher than in the past few years.

A little more than 19,000 acres burned in 2016, compared to about 14,500 and 16,500 in the two previous years, the report states.

There were 1,248 fires last year, compared to 1,178 and 1,240 in previous years.

One of the worst years for wildfires in recent years was 2012, when nearly 35,000 acres burned in 2,148 fires.

The AFC is projecting that 2017 could be problematic due to several back-to-back years of low wildfire activities, which leads to a buildup of things on the ground that acts as fuel for wildfires.

“If we experience several warm, low humidity days with gusty winds before vegetation is green again anywhere in the state, we have the potential for high wildfire danger,” said state forester Joe Fox in the report.