DETROIT (AP) _ An environmental group that says it set fires in Colorado to halt tourism-driven expansion now is claiming responsibility for the release of 5,000 minks from a Michigan farm, a related organization said today.

The North American Animal Liberation Front said in a statement faxed to Associated Press bureaus in Detroit and Denver that the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for Monday's release of minks from the Pipkorn Mink Farm.

The statement said the North American Animal Liberation Front had no knowledge of specific persons involved in the mink release.

Menominee County Sheriff's Deputy Gene Kosewski said today that no arrests had been made.

A message left with the North American Animal Liberation Front in Osseo, Minn., was not immediately returned. The group's statement did not name anyone connected with the Earth Liberation Front or indicate how that group could be contacted.

The Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for a series of Oct. 19 fires in Vail, Colo., that caused $12 million in damage to facilities at the nation's busiest ski resort. Investigators ruled three days later that the fires, which destroyed three major buildings and portions of four chairlifts, were deliberately set.

The group claimed its goal was to halt another expansion at Vail because of fears it could harm a potential habitat for the lynx, a threatened species of mountain cat.

The North American Animal Liberation Front statement cited a ``communique'' from the Earth Liberation Front dated Oct. 26 that said in part: ``As corporate destroyers burn in the west, wildlife nations will be liberated in the north.''

Tom Pipkorn, owner of the Upper Peninsula mink farm, said earlier this week that about 100 volunteers helped him recover all but 1,000 of the animals.