July 04, 2012 Edition

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Burn ban remains in LawCo.

Gretchen Hunt

Extreme heat and lack of rain has resulted in the designation of drought status for Arkansas, as well as burn bans throughout most of the state, including Lawrence County.

Shooting off fireworks by individuals is also prohibited under this burn ban, according to County Judge Dale Freeman.

"I hate it as bad as anybody, but if we have a fire that gets out of control it's going to do a lot of damage," he said.

Freeman said he has had a lot of people request permission to shoot fireworks, but that is not something he can grant at this time.

The fireworks display planned by the city of Walnut Ridge for tonight was cancelled due to the high fire risk, as was the display that was set for this past Saturday evening in Strawberry.

Both towns are hoping the events can be held at a later date, depending on how quickly the burn ban is lifted.

Lawrence County has been designated by the National Weather Service as being in extreme drought. There has not been any measurable rainfall in the county since June 11.

High temperatures averaged in the upper 90s the latter part of June and this past week has included several days in the triple digits. Heat indices have been well over 100 degrees.

Even with the burn ban in place, fire departments have been called to several brush fires. Residents are encouraged to not only refrain from shooting fireworks and burning, but to also be cautious about cigarette butts and sparks that could come from metal scraping on roadways.

The burn ban in Lawrence County will remain in effect until further notice. If a fire is set, the responsible party is liable for damage caused, according to Freeman.

"We've got too much to lose not to have a burn ban right now," he said. "We are trying to protect everyone in Lawrence County."

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