Nearly a third of Arkansas' counties were under burn bans Wednesday as high winds and low humidity combined to create wildfire danger around the state, officials said.
County judges in 24 of Arkansas' 75 counties have instituted burn bans; Benton, Clark, Jefferson, Pike and Searcy counties added themselves to the list Wednesday morning.
Counties in central Arkansas — Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pulaski, White and Van Buren — have a high potential for wildfires, according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission. The rest of the state is considered to be in moderate wildfire danger, according to the commission.
The threat of wildfires remains elevated Wednesday for a large part of Arkansas because of "lower relative humidity" and elevated winds, the National Weather Service said. A dry cold front will sweep across the state and bring west to northwest winds of 10 to 20 mph with some 25-mph gusts, and those winds will raise the wildfire threat, forecasters said.
Burning of leaves, brush and other debris is "highly discouraged," the weather service said.