Not only does October indicate the changing of the seasons in Arkansas it also marks the unofficial start to the fall wildland fire season. Adequate rainfall and below average temperatures over the summer have created a large amount of fine grass fuels that will be available for wildland fires during the fall season. Currently at Buffalo National River, there are large amounts of dead and down timber fuels from stressed trees from the previous year’s droughts and ice storms.
The National Park Service works in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Nature Conservancy and local rural fire departments to prevent and manage unwanted wildfire on the landscape. To report wildfires contact the Arkansas Forestry Commission at 800-468-8834, 911, or your local fire department. All of the land management agencies in Arkansas encourage caution and safety as individuals undertake the burning of fall leaf and other debris.
In addition over the next 90 days the National Park Service in Arkansas plans to conduct prescribed fires at Buffalo National River, Pea Ridge National Military Park, and Hot Springs National Park. The purpose of these prescribed fires is to reduce hazard buildup of natural wildland fuels, provide defensible space for NPS neighbors, and to promote wildlife habitat improvement by restoring the role of wildland fire on the landscape.For public safety certain areas of the NPS, such as trails, roads, and access areas, may be temporarily closed during the prescribed fire operations. If there is a temporary closure, that information should be accessible by one of the following means: web (http://www.nps.gov/buff), Tyler Bend Visitor Center (870/436-2502, or Headquarters (870/365-2700 x 7 x 2).
For more information contact the Arkansas National Parks Fire Management Group at 870-365-2774.