By Fred Petke / Staff Writer

Firefighters are wrapping up operations after containing a forest fire burning near Cumberland Falls.

U.S. Forest Services officials have been fighting the fire since Sunday, USFS spokesperson Jim Feltner said. Tuesday afternoon, she said crews were still out in the woods, making sure the fire lines are intact and holding. Some crews are cutting dead pine snags near the boundary lines to keep the fire from spreading any farther, she said.

Authorities believe the Whitley County fire was started intentionally near an all terrain vehicle trail on federal land along Kentucky 90 near Cumberland Falls State Park. Monday, crews had a bulldozer working in the woods to contain the fire within 125 acres. Firefighters were using natural firebreaks and older fire lines to help surround the fire.

Moist ground kept the fire from spreading and burning quickly, but the large number of dead trees from a 2000 and 2001 pine beetle epidemic left many dead pine trees throughout the forest, Feltner said.

Slight rains overnight Monday helped slow the fire as well, she said. Another three-acre fire in Leslie County is under control. In Clay County, a 20-person crew is still working to contain a 50-acre fire near Hayes Fork, she said.

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