Columbia County Judge Larry Atkinson on Monday initiated a countywide outdoor burn ban. The Arkansas Forest Commission advised the judge that conditions are “very dry” and that the Keetch-Byram Drought Index reading is increasing daily. The ban will be lifted when conditions improve.
On Monday alone county fire departments responded to two grass and forest fires. At approximately 11:30 a.m., Magnolia Fire Department responded to small grass fire at the corner of Gant and Ross Street. The flames were quickly extinguished.
Later that day, around 2 p.m., a forest fire broke out on a rural property near 260 Columbia Rd. 53 after a burn pile's ashes spread into a wooded area by the wind. Acres of pine trees and pastureland then scorched. The Rudd's Crossing Volunteer Fire Department and the Arkansas Forestry service both responded. As of 4:30 p.m. Monday, the blaze was mostly contained, but still smoldering throughout the property.