Forest Service reports progress on Mo. fires

BIXBY, Mo. (AP) — Federal officials say two fires in southern Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest have been contained, but new ones have broken out.

The Forest Service said Tuesday that mop-up operations are under way at the 622-acre East End Fire near the Iron County town of Bixby. Arson is suspect in that blaze, which broke out last Thursday.

About 45 miles to the east, crews have also contained a 48-acre fire near Higdon ignited by sparks created when mowing equipment struck a rock. The fire burned several abandoned vehicles and an historic schoolhouse.

Officials say seven new fires in the 1.5 million-acre forest were reported in the past two days. The largest is estimated at 250 acres and located about six miles east of Alton. That fire is about 45 percent contained.

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