MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The drought over the summer will have impacts on the fall fire season in the Mid-South. September and October are notoriously dry in the Mid-South. Leaves, dry grass, and dead trees due to drought already litter the area and could act as fuel during a grass fire.
Memphis and Shelby County Fire Departments have issued burn bans for all of Shelby County. Residents are banned from burning debris or using fire pits, however it does not ban the use of backyard grills.
Much of eastern Arkansas is under a high risk for fire danger while the majority of the Mid-South is in a moderate risk for fire danger. Burn bans are issued based on the amount of moisture in the ground.
National Weather Service meteorologists say rain from Isaac briefly helped to replenish moisture to the ground, but that a week of rain-free conditions has already dried up the ground. The fire risk will increase for the entire area if rain doesn’t arrive in the next week.
Grass fires are most common in the Mid-South and can be even more dangerous than other types of fires.
Tom Salem, NWS Meteorologist, says, “Grass fires are more dangerous in the sense that they travel a lot faster.”
Salem says it only takes a light breeze to cause a grass fire to spread miles.
Fire officials say citations will be issued for residents who disobey the burn ban.