Firefighters battle brush fire near I-75 in Ruskin

Firefighters battle a brush fire near State Road 674 and 19th Avenue NW on Sunday in Ruskin. The fire affected cow pastures and did not threaten residences, authorities say.

KENT NISHIMURA | Times

Firefighters battle a brush fire near State Road 674 and 19th Avenue NW on Sunday in Ruskin. The fire affected cow pastures and did not threaten residences, authorities say.

RUSKIN — Hillsborough County Fire Rescue units contained a 100-acre brush fire Sunday afternoon that started near Sun City Center and spread toward Apollo Beach.

Firefighters responded to the area near State Road 674 and 19th Avenue NE about 3:30 p.m, spokesman Ronnie Rivera said. The fire, just west of Interstate 75, affected cow pastures and was not a threat to homes.

Initially, firefighters were concerned the fire could reach the interstate. However, units responded quickly and a shift in wind allowed the firefighters to prevent the fire from approaching the interstate and from destroying nearby farm equipment, Rivera said.

"Initially, we were concerned because when the fire started, it was close to the interstate," he said. "Our guys right away started sending resources to that area."

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue sent four fire trucks and about seven brush trucks and received help from Florida Forestry Services. The units surrounded the fire and contained it, though they were still attacking hot spots in the south part of the county about 7:30 p.m., Rivera said.

This marks the first big brush fire of the year, Rivera said. Normally, brush fire season starts around the end of March or beginning of April, but dry and cold weather, along with high winds, are combining to make conditions ripe early.

It is unclear what started the fire, Rivera said.

There are no reports of injuries to residents or fire rescue personnel.

Firefighters battle brush fire near I-75 in Ruskin 02/23/14 [Last modified: Sunday, February 23, 2014 9:50pm]

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