Investigators have begun the task of searching for the cause of the wild fire at Pere Marquette State Park.  No injuries were reported, no structures were damaged, but about twice as much timber was lost than originally thought on Friday, after the high weekend winds re-energized some hot spots.


Jersey County Sheriff Mark Kallal says about one-thousand acres were affected.  He describes the general area:


Kallal comments


He says his department was on the scene basically for traffic control.  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is in charge of the investigation.  Tom Wilson, Forest Protection Program Manager, says the fire is contained, but after going up in the helicopter and viewing the damage with an infrared system, there is still reason for concern.


Wilson comments


He says most forest fires are started as a result of human interaction, whether they are deemed accidental or intentional.  The investigation has begun, but Wilson says it could take a while due to the large area affected and the conditions of the area following not only the blaze, but the rain that helped knock the fire down.