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Forest fire in White Mountains consumes 327 acres

US Forest Service rangers have made progress on a fire in the White Mountain National Forest that has forced the closure of some scenic spots along the Kancamagus Highway, including the covered bridge near Albany, N.H.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, and the forest service said Tuesday that the fire, which started near the covered bridge, has spread over an estimated 327 acres. The bridge, Passaconaway Road, and Big Brook Road were closed Tuesday, the forest service said.

Rangers and other firefighters now consider the fire to be 50 percent contained and are hopeful that Tuesday’s rainfall will accelerate that effort, making it likely the fire will be declared officially out by midweek.

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“Progress to contain the fire has been steady today and with rain forecasted for this afternoon and evening, the outlook for containment by mid-week looks optimistic,’’ the Forest Service said in a statement.

Authorities said the blaze broke out on Nov. 12. A spokesperson said the area has not seen a fire for over 100 years.

Rangers warn that the public may still see smoke on the horizon from the affected areas and are urging the public to avoid the forest fire for their own safety.

Anyone with information about the cause of what the Forest Service calls the Covered Bridge Fire are asked to call 603-447-5448, extension 129.


John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.