A wildfire is burning about 400 acres in the Mark Twain National Forest in Ozark County.

Mark Twain National Forest’s fire support helicopter dips water to drop on the fire containment line near Dora, Missouri Monday, July 30, 2012. The Potato Cave fire in Ozark County started over the weekend in heavy blowdown from a 2010 tornado. (USDA Photo by Bennie Terrell)

National Forest Fire Manager Jody Eberly says the fire is being called the “Potato Cave fire” and is about nine miles southeast of Southwest Missouri’s town of Dora.

Eberly says officials believe a lightning strike started the fire. She says heavy fuels, steep and rough terrain, and hot, dry weather are making the fire difficult to suppress. She adds that the wildfire is in an area of heavy blowdown fuels left from a 2010 tornado.

Eberly says canoeing on the North Fork River is not affected by the fire at this time.

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.

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.

For updated info about Mark Twain National Forest go to www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/marktwain.