All of Arkansas is under a high risk for wildfires after a weekend in which nearly 50 fires burned more than 217 acres of land, the Arkansas Forestry Commission said Monday.
The high risk for wildfires continues as low humidity levels make fires easier to start and high winds provide a way for them to quickly spread. The danger is expected to continue through the rest of the week.
The commission said 48 wildfires burned over the weekend with most of them burning 5 to 10 acres. Twenty-one homes were "within close proximity of flames and saved by suppression efforts," the agency added.
In January alone, crews have battled 237 wildfires — about 30 percent of the total fires battled in all of 2013.
"We are beginning — in what appears to be — a much more dangerous year for wildfire activity than we experienced last year," State Forester Joe Fox said in a statement. "We ask all homeowners and citizens in Arkansas to continue to be very careful."
Forty-nine counties across the state have issued burn bans.