Lightning likely sparked fire at Brooker Creek
A brush fire at Brooker Creek Preserve burned about 60 acres but is finally extinguished. Park administrators detected the fire about 2:30 p.m. Thursday when they saw smoke coming from the preserve's southwest end. Nearby hiking trails were immediately evacuated, and the Florida Division of Forestry moved in to contain the fire by plowing a perimeter around it. The full 60 acres within the containment perimeter burned up by 9:30 p.m. Thursday, said Steven Harper, division director of the Pinellas County Department of Environmental Management. Some of the area was still smouldering, but the Pinellas County Wildlands Fire Team moved into the park Friday morning to clean up the area and eliminate any remaining smoking wood. Harper said authorities suspect lightning started the fire Wednesday. Brooker Creek Preserve administrators reopened trails to hikers Friday morning.
Expo offers info for veterans, families
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, will host the fourth annual Military Day & Veterans' Resource Fair today at East Lake High School, 1300 Silver Eagle Drive, Tarpon Springs. Among participants will be former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier, a Vietnam veteran. Military and veteran officials will discuss services, benefits and information available for veterans and their families. Topics will include medical and dental care, veterans' claims and services, education benefits, job placement, housing and social services. For information, call (727) 773-2871.
Library branches need volunteers
The Clearwater Public Library System needs volunteers at all locations. Flexible hours are available and training is provided. To schedule an appointment, call Diane McKeever at (727) 562-4970, ext. 5037, or visit www.myclearwater.com/cpl.
Register now for June 27 triathlon
Registration is continuing for the Morton Plant Mease Triathlon. About 1,000 swimmers, runners and cyclists are expected to compete in the event, which begins at 6:50 a.m. June 27 in Sand Key Park, 1040 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater Beach. Participants will run through communities in Clearwater and Belleair. The cost is $75 per individual and $95 for relay teams. Online registration will close Tuesday. Proceeds from the triathlon will benefit the Morton Plant Mease Foundation. To register online, go to www.mpm triathlon.org.