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Crews battling fires in Mark Twain National Forest

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Updated at 3:53 pm with details on fire containment

A fire that burned between 550 and 600 acres at Mark Twain National Forest is partially contained.

The forest's fire management officer, Jody Eberly, said Saturday that crews plan to spend the weekend mopping up around the fire's perimeter.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Nixon flew Saturday over the burned land in southeast Missouri's Iron County. He says numerous smaller fires are burning across state.

The soaring heat and lack of rain have Nixon, Eberly and others worried that the state could face a long summer of battling fires.

Eberly says fires in Missouri normally stay low to the ground, burning the underbrush. But the Mark Twin blaze was shooting flames up to 70 feet in the air.

She says that almost never happens in Missouri and requires different firefighting strategies.

Original story posted at 10:28 am

Fire concerns are widening in southeast Missouri as crews battle a 550-acre blaze in the Mark Twain National Forest.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Friday ordered the Missouri National Guard to get ready to assist with firefighting efforts.

The fire broke out Thursday in a section of the 1.5-million-acre forest located in Iron County, and the governor's office says about 2,000 additional acres are at risk.  Governor Nixon is scheduled to survey the damage by helicopter this morning. 

Soaring temperatures and a lack of rain have created ideal fire conditions across the state.

Numerous communities are barring backyard fireworks or canceling their public displays.

Yesterday the Missouri Department of Conservation issued a fire ban on all conservation areas.

The ban includes prohibiting open fires including charcoal grills.  However, it does allow for contained fires as long as they’re in metal rings.

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