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Cheaha Park fires close to being contained, Forest Service says

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Crew members of the Davidson River Type II Initial Attack hike into an area near private residents to perform cold training on the Duck Nest Wildfire in the Talladega National Forest, Talladega Ranger District near Cheaha State Park. 

The Talladega National Forest fires, which scorched more than 1,000 acres over the past week, are gradually coming under control.

However, the ramifications to Cheaha State Park will remain for a bit longer.

Fire crews continued to work on the sites Wednesday and Thursday, searching the area for continuing hot spots and monitoring the control lines formed to keep the blazes in check, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Officials with the Forest Service report 75 percent of the 389-acre burn at Duck Nest in Cleburne County has been contained and 60 percent of the 735-acre burn at Fall Branch in Clay County has also been contained.

For those that had been hoping to enjoy the Cheaha trails during the holiday weekend, those plans might require some revisions.

Cheaha State Park announced Thursday morning the park plans to be open Friday except for Cheaha Trailhead, Pulpit Rock and Lake Trail. The park restaurant will also be open Friday through Sunday from noon to 7: 30 p.m. with a limited menu.

The park said those openings are conditional if the wildfire containment “continues to increase.”

“We are asking everyone to do their part and protect Alabama from wildfires,” said USDA Forest Service District Ranger Linwood Butler in a Wednesday evening press release. “Firefighters are working hard to protect our communities and natural resources. We appreciate the awesome teamwork and partnerships from federal, state, and local agencies, local fire departments and concerned citizens.”