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4:14 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Fire in Mark Twain forest underscores Mo. heat threat

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

Gov. 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.

Soaring temperatures and a lack of rain have created ideal fire conditions. To deal with the threat, state and federal officials also are barring campfires on thousands of acres of public land. Numerous communities are barring backyard fireworks or canceling their public displays including Holts Summit and the Freeburg Lions Club. Boonville's Fourth of July fireworks display has been postponed until conditions improve.

The heat also is sending dozens of people to emergency rooms and prompting communities statewide to open cooling centers.  For a complete list of cooling centers in Boone County click here.