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Dora’s Potato Cave Fire Still Burning

Mark Twain National Forest’s fire support helicopter dips water to drop on the fire containment line near Dora on Monday, July 30. The Potato Cave fire in Ozark County started over the weekend in heavy blowdown from a 2010 tornado. (USDA Photo by Bennie Terrell)

ROLLA – As of 3 p.m. Monday, July 30, Mark Twain National Forest firefighters were working to suppress a wildfire, named the Potato Cave fire, in Ozark County, about nine miles southeast of Dora.

The wildfire cause is under investigation, but it appears likely that it was started by a lightning strike.

Currently burning in about 400 acres, the wildfire is in an area of heavy blowdown fuels left from a 2010 tornado.  “Heavy fuels, steep and rough terrain, and hot, dry weather conditions are making this fire difficult to control,” said Mark Twain National Forest Fire Manager Jody Eberly.

Firefighters have created a containment line on county and private roads and across National Forest lands.  The fire is all on National Forest lands but is expected to burn onto some private lands as part of the suppression strategy.  The Incident Commander is working with affected landowners.

Canoeing on the North Fork River is not affected at the current time.  Outfitters are still able to use traditional put-in and take-out points.

Tonight, there may be a burn-out operation occurring along County Roads 365 and 368.  Eberly said about a mile section of each of these roads may be closed for 1-4 hours during that burn-out operation to ensure firefighter and public safety.

“Full containment of this wildfire is not expected until later this week,” Eberly said.  Residents can expect to see active fire and smell or see smoke in this area for several days.

“Please do not travel to the fire vicinity if you do not live in the area,” Eberly said. “This is potentially a dangerous situation for firefighters and the public.”

USDA’s Mark Twain National Forest is the largest public land manager in Missouri with 1.5 million acres in 29 southern and central Missouri counties.

The National Forest’s goal is to continue to restore Missouri’s natural communities and maintaining a healthy, working forest.