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Firefighters battle large forest fire in New Hampshire White Mountains

BARTLETT, N.H. (AP) — Firefighters in New Hampshire are battling a large forest fire that’s burned hundreds of acres in the White Mountains this weekend.

The U.S. Forest Service said federal, state and local personnel responded to a fire on state land in Crawford Notch State Park at around 11 a.m. Saturday.

The fire, which as been dubbed the Bemis Fire, is burning in steep, mountainous terrain near the Arethusa Falls trail. It was estimated to be about 250 acres in size, the forest service said in a statement Saturday night.

The agency said there were no significant threats to life or property but asked the public to stay away from the area until the fire is considered controlled. The Arethusa Falls trail is closed until further notice. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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The New Hampshire Forest Rangers said on Twitter that Saturday afternoon rain storms helped slow the fire's progression but also forced firefighters to suspend their work due to lightning.

The Bethlehem Fire Department said in a Facebook post that firefighters were expected to return to the site in Sunday morning.

Meanwhile another significant brush fire in the White Mountains was considered “100% contained and controlled” Saturday afternoon, the forest service said.

The nearly 50-acre Centennial Fire was reported Monday west of the Leadmine State Forest and burned across part of the Appalachian Trail.

The agency said there's still work being done in the area so the Appalachian Trail Corridor from the Lead Mine State Forest to the junction of the Centennial Trail and the Mahoosuc Trail remains closed until further notice.

Forest officials have said that fire might have been caused by a person who started the fire for warmth or cooking.