Mountain Home, Baxter County add burn bans

Burn bans for both the City of Mountain Home and Baxter County were issued Tuesday afternoon, joining a growing list of cities and counties in North Central Arkansas. Marion County joined the list Tuesday morning when Judge Terry Ott issued a burn ban.

Tuesday afternoon, Mountain Home Fire Chief Ken Williams issued a burn ban effective immediately until further notice.

Wednesday morning Mayor Jeff Braim added the City of of Gassville to the ban.

Just minutes earlier Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass issued a burn ban for all unincorporated areas of the county effective immediately. Judge Pendergrass' court order says the ban shall be enforceable by and through the Baxter County Sheriff's Department.

The order notes outdoor burning may be permitted under special circumstances when the court is assured all necessary and proper precautions are being enforced to ensure the burning constitutes no hazard to life and property. No outdoor burning is permitted in the absence of a written permit from the county judge and the fire chief of the appropriate fire protection district.

Failure to comply with the burning ban shall constitute a misdemeanor, allowing the district judge to set the fine up to $500 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

With the dry conditions continuing and slim rain chances for this week, the Twin Lakes Area is experiencing an elevated wildfire danger. The National Weather Service is reporting dry weather will continue over the region.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission reports burn bans are also in effect for Fulton, Searcy, Stone and Boone counties. A burn ban has also been issued for the city of Cotter by Fire Chief Cory Swartz. In addition, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows the majority of North Central Arkansas and southern Missouri is under severe drought conditions because rainfall is five to 10+ inches below average. The National Weather Service has also issued a red flag warning until 7:00 Monday evening for Ozark, Douglas and Taney Counties in southern Missouri meaning critical fire weather conditions are occurring now or will shortly.

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