Arkansas wildfire contained, Nebraska fires still raging
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas |
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - Residents of a western Arkansas town that was evacuated ahead of an approaching wildfire were allowed to go home on Thursday, as firefighters brought the blaze under control in the drought-ravaged area.
Officials said the wildfire that prompted Wednesday's evacuation of Ola, Arkansas, had consumed about 1,400 acres before it could be contained. Governor Mike Beebe planned to tour the area on Thursday.
Firefighters, meanwhile, continued to battle blazes in Nebraska, where three fires that have ripped across more than 72,400 acres were 50 percent contained, officials said Thursday. The largest is called the Fairfield Creek Fire.
Three minor injuries have been reported and 10 structures plus some outbuildings have been destroyed, officials said. Some 150 buildings were in danger of being burned.
There were 560 people working to fight the Nebraska fires, officials said Thursday.
"We currently have sufficient fire resources on the incident," Doug Fox, a regional emergency management director, said in a statement. "If additional resources are needed, local fire chiefs will put out a call for assistance."
Authorities said the Arkansas fire likely started when a mower contracted by the state hit a rock and sparked dry grass.
More than half of Arkansas' 75 counties are in a burn ban including Yell County, where Ola is located. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that about one-third of Arkansas is in an exceptional drought, the most intense category.
(Additional reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Eric Walsh)
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