SALINE COUNTY, Ark. – The updated drought monitor for the state of Arkansas shows worsening conditions for counties across the state.
Thursday, seven counties were added to the high wildfire danger risk. The majority of those counties are right here in central Arkansas.
Additionally, much of the state is under a burn ban.
For farmers, those worsening conditions are only creating more concern for their land.
This time of year, Gann Farm Raised in Saline County owner Nicholas Gann raises cattle on the farm. He said a wildfire on his property would be a huge deal- damaging all of the grass he needs for cattle that are coming next week.
With all the dry grass on his farm, he said there is a significant risk for an accidental wildfire at any moment, whether he causes it himself or someone nearby.
“When you kill those microorganisms by burning the field- whether intentionally or unintentionally- you’re killing the grass. The grass that you need to feed your cattle,” Gann said.
This summer, the chances of killing those microorganisms by burning the field are higher according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission.
“Most men.. especially men they don’t think twice about lighting a small fire, so it’s a concern,” Gann said.
Gann said he is putting off burning fallen tree limbs on his farm because of the current burn ban and to keep his farmland safe.
“We need to burn it, but not only do I not want to burn our fields, but I don’t need to set his house on fire,” Gann said, pointing to a neighbor’s home.
Gann said with his farm being so easily flammable right now, the concern is not just for himself and his farm, but for those around him.
“I worry about the damage I’m going to cause them- my neighbors. Their fields, their houses,” he said. I can’t afford to replace all that if I burn it down, but I’m responsible for that.”
Gann hopes his neighbors will also take him into consideration.
“There’s definitely a concern. Most of the neighbors I don’t worry about but there are some that could just ruin my operation this year.”