The Arkansas Forestry Commission recently released data on 2017 and officials expect an active wildfire season in 2018. State Forester Joe Fox says there is plenty of fuel on the forest floor and an uncertain drought outlook that could lead to an increase in wildfires this year. The U.S. Drought Monitor still lists a moderate drought for southwest Arkansas, despite recent rainfall.
According to the Arkansas Forestry Commission, there were 1,566 wildfires in 2017 that burned 27,549 acres in the state. It was the highest wildfire frequency year since 2012 when 2,148 wildfires burned 34,434 acres.
Howard County reported 17 fires during 2017 that burned 132 acres. Pike County reported 16 fires last year that burned 42 acres.
The primary cause of wildfires in the state continues to be arson and unintentional wildfires caused by outdoor burning.