Arson Susected in Fire at Little River Preserve

FORT PAYNE, Ala. (AP) - Authorities said they believe arson was to blame for a fire that burned about 140 acres of forest around a national preserve in northeast Alabama. And officials reopened part of Interstate 20 that was closed because of smoke from another blaze.

Both fires were mostly extinguished, but officials said the drought covering north Alabama put the area at risk for more wildfires.

Meanwhile, citing continued dry weather and smoke blowing into the state from fires in southern Georgia and northern Florida, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management warned that the very young, the elderly and people with respiratory problems should limit outdoor activity until conditions improve.

Authorities are trying to determine who caused a fire that threatened hundreds of acres of hilly woodland in the Little River National Preserve, located in extreme northeast Alabama.

In east Alabama, a fire was still smoldering along I-20 but conditions were improved from yesterday, when five miles of an eastbound lane had to be closed in Calhoun and Cleburne counties because of smoke from a roadside blaze.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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