Little Rock, AR -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) are renewing their efforts to caution Arkansas residents of the extreme danger of wildfires in coming months. "We feel it a high priority to issue caution to residents of the very real threat of wildfires due to the increased debris on the ground from the December ice storms," said Joe D. Bray, federal coordinating officer.
Although some of the fires last year were attributed to carelessness on the part of residents and visitors, arson was suspected in many. The 1,401 acre Petit Jean State Park wildfire in August of 2000 destroyed 864 acres in the state park; 405 acres belonging to Deltic Timber and 132 acres of private land. Another large forest land fire in 2000 was outside the Vick community in south Arkansas. That fire destroyed approximately 2,000 acres.
"There were a total of 41,599 acres of timber destroyed last year," said David Maxwell, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. "We hope Arkansas residents continue to be mindful of the seriousness of potential wildfires this year, especially in light of the of large amount of debris on the ground in the 18.4 million acres of timber and forest land that takes up over half of our state."
Residents observing fires are encouraged to call 800-468-8834, 24 hours a day to report fire emergencies.