Burn bans were issued for Sebastian and Crawford counties Thursday, according to two separate news releases.

Effective immediately, Sebastian County Judge David Hudson and Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap have issued burn bans for their respective counties banning outdoor burning of trash, debris, brush and all other materials during this period when conditions are extremely dry. Lawns, fields and wooded areas are exceptionally dry, and the flash point for outdoor fires is unusually low.

The Sebastian County news release states moderate to high winds are also expected over the next few days which will continue to dry out vegetation, as well as spread fire more quickly. Compounding the hazard of low flash point are the factors of built in, self-producing wind from open fires during this type of weather situation which cause extreme difficulties in containing and controlling outdoor fires as well as the hazard and threat to life for those attempting to control and extinguish the flames.

Hudson and Gilstrap stated for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of their respective counties, all outdoor burning is banned until such time as relief from the dry conditions is provided. Those who violate the restrictions in either county will be prosecuted.

The burn bans will stay in effect until sufficient rain has reduced the fire hazard and the windy conditions have subsided.  Both releases urge all residents to work together to protect the lives and property, themselves, their families and neighbors.

"We solicit and appreciate the support of each individual during this time period and would request additional caution and good judgment be used by smokers and that smoking material be extinguished in an ash tray or safe container rather than be discarded along our roads and highways," the Sebastian County news release states.