Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fires Scorch Acres of Land Statewide

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fires Scorch Acres of Land Statewide

Article excerpt

Firefighters and the National Guard worked yesterday trying to control several large fires that burned thousands of acres across Florida, while more than 20 smaller blazes smoldered throughout the state.

In western Duval County, a passing thunderstorm probably ignited at least one of several fires that erupted between 5 and 6:30 p.m., but those fires did not pose an immediate danger to any homes, authorities said.

Last evening, the largest of these fires was estimated at 100 acres in an area to the north of Maxville off U.S. 301, according to the Florida Division of Forestry.

"We had one strong thunderstorm in western Duval County," said Scott Carroll, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. "It's not a guarantee that that's what caused it, but, more than likely, that is what it was."

Earlier in the day, Eric Ford, a state forestry official, said no wildfires presented a serious or immediate threat to any homes or property and fire crews had several nearly contained.

"As of right now, we still have the same fires going on that we did yesterday," Ford said.

Fire crews contained fires in Washington, Alachua, Putnam, Okeechobee, Glades and Martin counties, but kept on battling several larger fires around the state.

In Lake County, where 13 fires burned 4,300 acres west of Orlando, crews only had 30 percent of the blaze under control.

In Orange County, firefighters worked to contain fires of 1,200- and 960-acres, respectively.

In Highland County, 325 acres still burned out of control yesterday, while north of Port Charlotte, in Sarasota County, half of a 6,250-acre blaze was under control, fire officials said.

In addition, there were 20 minor fires still smoldering throughout the state -- six in the Panhandle, the rest in Central and South Florida -- totaling just 50 acres.

"Looks like most of those are probably completely contained," said Ford. …

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