It's hot and dry and expected to stay that way in Jefferson County for at least the next week, according to the National Weather Service.

It’s hot and dry and expected to stay that way in Jefferson County for at least the next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Pine Bluff’s projected high for Friday was 106 degrees. The NWS predicted it would be 102 today and 99 to 100 Sunday through Thursday, July 5. Overnight lows are figured in the 70s, and if there’s any rainfall during the period, it’ll likely come on July 4 or 5 when a 20-percent chance of precipitation will exist. Otherwise, the chance of a measurable rainfall is no higher than 10 percent.

A burn ban remains in effect here. Burn bans had been issued in 70 of the state’s 75 counties through midday Thursday. The NWS said a high wildfire danger exists across the state. Several wildfires have occurred during the past several days, keeping the Arkansas Forestry Commission and municipal and volunteer firefighters busy.

Charles Cady of the Jefferson County Mutual Aid Fire Association said Friday that a rash of wildfires have occurred in the area this week, including some blazes in Altheimer, Hardin, Redfield and south of Pine Bluff. No structures have been damaged and no injuries have occurred in any of the fires.

Cady said he’s “absolutely delighted” that the use of fireworks by individuals has been banned in the county because of the weather conditions. “Please advise your readers that they don’t need to be be using any fireworks, and that they need to remember the burn ban as well,” said Cady. “I understand one of the fires in Redfield may have been started by fireworks. It’s just too dry for fireworks or any type of burning.”

Cady also said that motorists and pedestrians should not toss lighted cigarettes into grassy or brushy areas.

Severe to extreme drought conditions are reported throughout the state, with little chance of rain in the immediate forecast.

After mild conditions throughout the first half of June, temperatures edged upward as the month progressed. High pressure built over Arkansas from the west and produced temperatures well above normal.

The high temperature within the state so far this year was 111 degrees in Evening Shade (Sharp County) on Thursday.

According to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the state’s average high temperature in June is 88 degrees. The average rises to 91 in July and drops to 90 in August. The state typically doesn’t experience 100-degree temperatures until July.