SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — If you’re wondering why the Ozarks is covered with a smokey haze and smells like something is burning, you’re not alone.
KOLR10 spoke with the Arkansas Forestry Division, which says it’s currently monitoring 70 to 80 prescribed burns that cover 500 to 600 acres of land.
The forestry division says at least 20 of the fires are in the central to the northern parts of the state, including Baxter and Fulton counties.
While the Arkansas Forestry Division is monitoring the burns, the majority of the work is being handled by the United States Forestry Service.
Officials say that the sheer size of the burns is enough for smoke to travel northward into southwest Missouri.
The Arkansas Forestry Division also tells KOLR10 that prescribed burns are typical this time of year as vegetation begins to grow in the spring, and burns are done for hazard reduction. Fires were scheduled for today due to rain in the forecast for Thursday, March 16.
The government-run AirNow Fire and Smoke Map shows a large plume of smoke over the entire state of Arkansas and much of Missouri.
The map also shows the locations of fires across the region, including some in Taney County and Barry County. KOLR10 Meteorologist Jamie Warriner says one particular fire in Mark Twain National Forest may be to blame for the smoke over Springfield, saying winds out of the southeast line up well to blow smoke from that fire into the area.
As of about 8 p.m. on March 15, air quality in Springfield and Little Rock was listed as good, with slightly worse conditions in Springdale with moderate concentrations of smoke.