Benton County Fire Marshal Marc Trollinger says although the summer fire season is over, the potential danger isn't.
"We haven't received much rainfall to counter that drought," he says. "We're still in that situation."
The National Weather Service and Arkansas Forestry Commission are predicting a dry winter too, further increasing the risk.
Leaves are on the ground, adding to the potential for fires and Northwest Arkansas' wooded areas are still clogged with debris from 2009's ice storm.
"It's a very volatile situation," Trollinger says. "The leaves are so dry right now that it can quickly spread and before you know it it'll be out of control."
Trollinger wants people to check with local authorities before burning to make sure the conditions are right.
"We keep track of that," he says. "If we know the wind will pick up later in the day we'll go ahead and do a burn ban."
He says even if conditions are safe, you should stay at least 50 feet away from structures, and keep a hose handy if you plan to burn anything.
The winter season is also a common time for chimney fires and Trollinger wants people to be sure to get flues and furnaces inspected before the cold really hits.
"I know we're right on top of the cold season people are using them, but it's not too late to have them inspected and checked," he says.
Once you've used those fireplaces, be sure to dispose of the ashes properly.
"Those are a large source every year of some of our larger grass fires and even some structure fires," Trollinger says. "We recommend a metal container. Don't place it on anything combustible, make sure they stay in the container for a couple days before you discard them and then also wet them down."
For more safety tips during the holiday season, visit this site.
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