Grass Fires Blazing In River Valley

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RIVER VALLEY (KFSM) — Although several counties in the area were categorized as being “moderate” wildfire danger as of Tuesday (Jan. 10), several grass fires blazed. High winds and damp, but ultimately dry conditions are a couple of sources behind the increasing numbers of grass fires reported Tuesday.

More than 10 grass fires were reported before 3 p.m., according to firefighters. Several grass fires were extinguished in Crawford and Sebastian Counties, as well as Sequoyah County.

“A few structures were in danger…,” said Sebastian County Emergency Management Director Jeff Turner. As of 2:30 p.m. a barn was the only structure reported as a total loss.

One particular fire that happened Tuesday about 12:30 p.m. was in rural Sebastian County in Charleston near Cook Road and Highway 22.

A firefighter, whose name was not released Tuesday, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, said Big Creek Fire Chief Tommy Noel.

Also, it was reported that some residents were evacuated as a result of the fire, but Turner said no sheltering arrangements had been arranged.

The exact number of acres burned was not accounted for as of early Tuesday evening, but Noel said at least 75 acres caught fire.

Lavaca, Riverdale, Big Creek and Charleston Fire Departments assisted during the matter. Arkansas Forestry Commission also assisted at the scene.

Another large grass fire happened along Orrick Road in Alma.

Several grass fires happened in Fort Smith, as well.

“Wind speeds are causing electrical power lines to rub onto one another and spark,” said Battalion Chief Ronnie Rogers of the Fort Smith Fire Department.

Rogers explained the sparks then fall onto the ground and fires spread.

He added that smokers should also be mindful before tossing out cigarette butts. Throwing butts on the ground also causes fires.