HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Local forest fire crews have gone to Oregon to help fight about 10 wildfires raging there.
However, the Ouachita National Forest says it has been careful to keep an adequate amount of firefighers in Arkansas to help with ice storm cleanup and prevent fires here.
Arkansas has sent more than 100 firefighters, including five national forest crews to Oregon. Lightning strikes from severe storms started the Oregon fires Sunday.
Forest service, Arkansas Forestry Commission and Texas Forest Service crews left Fort Smith on Monday night. So far the forest service hasn't sent any equipment.
"With the moisture that we've received over the forests in the past week, we believe that we can free up a limited amount of our resources to lend a hand to folks currently being threatened in Oregon," said Jim Burton, fire staff officer for the Ozark-St. Francis and Ouachita national forests.
Ouachita National Forest supervisor Alan Newman said the forest floor is littered with combustible woody material from December's ice storms.
Fire danger in the forest was high until a rainfall last weekend, but if rain doesn't continue, conditions could worsen, Newman said.
Old firelines that the ice storm obliterated have been reconstructed. New lines also have been built where heavy damage exists between the forest and private property.