SALEM, Mo. (AP) — Firefighters are battling a blaze in Mark Twain forest that officials believe was set by arsonists.

Thom Haines, ranger in the forest’s Salem district, says more than 5,000 acres burned after the fires were set Tuesday.

Haines says in a news release that smoke was seen in several areas Tuesday in southern Dent County near the Shannon County line. By Tuesday afternoon, three separate fires had combined into one blaze.

Haines says the fire has spread to some private lands but no homes are immediately threatened. He says residents near the area have been notified.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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