Fires still smoldering in Shawnee State Forest

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

BUENA VISTA (AP) - Rain helped firefighters contain a fire that burned an estimated 250 to 300 acres of Ohio's largest state forest over the weekend, authorities said Sunday.

No one has been injured in the fire at Shawnee State Forest, a 63,000-acre park near the banks of the Ohio River in southern Ohio.

State forestry division officials were investigating the cause of the fire, which began about 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

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A few smoldering areas remained Sunday night. Firefighters believe they'll be extinguished by rain forecast for the next few days, said Jane Beathard, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Rain allowed firefighters to stop battling the blaze about 5 a.m. Sunday, Beathard said. It was 95 percent contained about noon, she said.

The fire originally covered about 100 acres but was spread by wind, fire officials said.

Crews have battled five fires in the Wayne National Forest along the Lawrence and Scioto county lines in the past few days.

Forestry division officials were monitoring the area in case of flare-ups. The fire was no longer threatening any buildings and was about a mile from any backpacking trails, Beathard said.

About 1,000 wildfires burn 4,000 to 6,000 acres of forest and grassland in Ohio's 20 state forests each year, according to the Department of Natural Resources.