Mark Twain forest fire partially contained, weather worries officials

Saturday, June 30, 2012 | 5:34 p.m. CDT; updated 6:28 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 2, 2012

KANSAS CITY — 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 said 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 said 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 said that almost never happens in Missouri and requires different firefighting strategies.

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