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(Fort Smith) (AP) – Drought that began in 2011 is damaging and killing oak trees in western Arkansas and a state extension agent says the effects will likely continue.

Sebastian County Extension Staff Chairman Lance Kirkpatrick told the Times Record that two years of drought has weakened the immune systems of the trees and that many that appear in distress are already dead.

Kirkpatrick says a fungus that is often found in trees is able to attack and destroy trees that are weakened due stress from the drought.

The latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released May 16 by the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center projects no drought in Arkansas through the end of August.

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