Controlled burn becomes wildfire in east Pasco

SAN ANTONIO — Flames from a controlled burn that burst out of control just after noon Monday, sweeping across 125 acres of open pasture in east Pasco County.

Firefighters in more than a dozen tankers, engines and brush trucks rushed about 1 p.m. to the blaze, which burned just east of Interstate 75 between Darby and St. Joe roads, Pasco Fire Rescue Chief Duncan Hitchcock said.

By 2:30 p.m., firefighters had deployed to six homes near the burning grassland and contained most of the fire. About 3 p.m., bulldozers began carving trench-like "firebreaks" to isolate the flames, and firefighters began burning off stray underbrush to keep the fire from spreading.

Drivers on I-75 could hit some pungent smoke from a patch of ignited peat bog, Hitchcock said. "Muck fires," which are stubbornly difficult to extinguish, send off fumes with a "smell you can never forget," he said.

Controlled burn becomes wildfire in east Pasco 01/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 31, 2011 5:27pm]

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