Forest Fire Burns 500 Acres Near Heber Springs

SEPTEMBER 13, 2005 - Posted at 8:08 a.m. CDT

HEBER SPRINGS, AR - Arson is suspected as the cause of a Cleburne County fire that blackened 560 acres of forest.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission says the weekend fire was the state's largest this year.  The blaze destroyed part of a 12,000-acre pine plantation that belongs to Green Bay Packaging, Incorporated, which has a pulp and paper mill near Morrilton.

Several nearby homes and barns were threatened, but none was damaged, and the only injury reported was a Forestry Commission ranger who was hospitalized for heat exhaustion.

The fire, east of Heber Springs and Greers Ferry Lake, burned for two days between the towns of Wilburn and Ida before firefighters brought it under control.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)