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U.S. Forest Service managing wildfire near Hot Springs

By Christina Huynh

This article was published January 25, 2014 at 2:02 p.m.

U.S. Forest Service crews are managing a 50-acre wildfire that started Friday near Lake Ouachita State Park, authorities said Saturday afternoon.

The wildfire, which was discovered about noon Friday, is northwest of state park on the Little Blakely Trail System, officials said. All system trails have been closed until further notice.

"We haven't had any lightening. We don't really know at this point [what started the fire]." District Ranger Megan Moynihan told Arkansas Online.

Forest service officials are managing the fire using a "less than full suppression" strategy, which means that the wildfire will continue to burn to existing barriers, such as roads or creeks, according to a news release. This plan is implemented when access to the fire is difficult and firefighters' safety is at risk.

Using this strategy also reduces the probability that wind would move smoke to areas in Hot Springs and is likely to cause less damage to natural resources, forest service officials said.

"With current wind and weather conditions and the safety of firefighters in mind, the prudent decision is to continue to manage the fire until the right opportunity to extinguish it," Moynihan said in the news release.

The fire is in a remote area and is expect to burn over the next several days. An investigation into how the blaze began is ongoing.

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