Arkansas Forestry Commission Ranger Darrell Bohannon said he had heard the ground moisture level in Carroll County last week was five feet down. The commission has its own moisture scale, and conditions aren't good. Its wildfire designation lists the whole state in exteme danger.
"We use a scale of 100 to 700 in moisture, and the drought index," Bohannon said, with 700 being the driest. "We're sitting at the top of the scale, at 700."
He said humidity was at 18 percent as of last Thursday, which is "extremely low."
"In a normal year, it would be 40."
Carroll County Extension Agent Randy Forst said conditions are "very bad." Not only are farmers and ranchers scrambling to get water to their livestock, but they are having a hard time finding hay.
"They are considering selling their cows, which is bad because it will drop the meat market with the over-influx of beef. In the Spring ranchers may not be able to afford to buy them back," he said.
He said the grasses are in danger of drying out because the root systems are compromised.
"Ranchers may have to reseed their pastures," he said.
For those who have home gardens and yards with trees they want to save, it's important to do things right, he said.
"Mulching is very important; it will help the garden retain moisture."
He said the large trees need help.
"Due to severe drought for two years, people have to water their large trees."
He advised not to mulch around larger and older trees, but mulch can be placed around trees up to three or four years old.
"You want to slow drip water to a tree," he added, "for it to get down to the root system. Drip watering won't run off and will stay in place."
He said people should drip water their gardens, too, so that water doesn't stay on the leaves.
For those who don't have drip systems and only have sprinklers available, it's best to water in the early morning around 5 or 6 a.m. and not at night. Moisture on leaves doesn't dry at night, and it might make plants susceptible to disease, Forst added.
"Doing it in the morning will give the water time to soak in and then the sun will dry off the leaves."