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Forest fire in N.H. White Mountains recedes following rain, but officials warn of dry conditions ahead

State officials have closed hiking trails in the area of a forest fire burning in Crawford Notch State Park in New Hampshire.NH Division of Forests & Lands

A forest fire in New Hampshire’s White Mountains was slowed by rain Monday, but officials warned it could pick back up with drier conditions expected later this week, the US Forest Service and the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources said in a statement.

The Bemis Fire was first reported Saturday morning and has been burning in a section of Crawford Notch State Park, the White Mountain National Forest, and on private land, the statement said.

The fire was estimated to be 106 acres as of Monday, down from about 250 acres reported on Saturday night. The fire consists of three smaller fires — measured at 58 acres, 15 acres, and 32 acres — that have been burning separately, the statement said.

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“The fire is burning and smoldering timber composed primarily of conifers and dry leaf litter with scattered burning snags,” the statement said. “Sunday’s isolated showed provided a wetting rain on the ground, but the duff layer remains dry underneath, enabling the fire to burn deeper.”

About 25 percent of the fire was contained as of Monday afternoon, the statement said. Fire crews have been working through difficult conditions as the fire burns in an area of steep, rocky, and slippery terrain, the statement said.

The operation has involved about 40 firefighters and is being led by the White Mountain National Forest and the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands-Forest Protection Bureau, the statement said.

“We appreciate the valuable assistance provided by our federal and state partners as well as the beneficial efforts of local fire departments during the initial attack,” Steven Sherman, chief of the New Hampshire Forest Protection Bureau, said in the statement.

Three popular hiking trails in the area have closed and a temporary flight restriction that includes drones is in place while firefighters battle the blaze, the statement said. The Frankenstein Cliffs, Arethusa Falls Trail, and the Ripley Falls Trail are all closed until further notice, the statement said.

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The cause of the blaze is under investigation.


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.