Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Firefighters keep watch over smoldering Chassahowitzka peat

WEEKI WACHEE — Fire crews were back to work Saturday at the scene of a brush fire in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area that put a scare into nearby residents a day earlier.

"They're basically mopping up and keeping an eye on it, making sure there are no active flames or flare-ups," said Don Ruths, spokesman for the Florida Division of Forestry.

Crews were also working to completely surround the smoldering area with a fire line, Ruths said.

Firefighters from six agencies scrambled into action Friday afternoon when shifting winds caused a prescribed burn in the wildlife area to flare out of control and race to the east, toward the gated golf community of Glen Lakes.

The blaze threatened about a dozen homes along the western edge of the subdivision west of U.S. 19, about 4 miles north of Weeki Wachee Springs.

Authorities called for a voluntary evacuation and asked residents to turn on their irrigation systems.

Flames came within feet of some homes but no structures were damaged and no one was injured. Crews had the fire under control by 7 p.m.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had a permit from the forestry division to conduct a prescribed burn based on Friday's weather forecast. The commission planned to burn 200 acres.

By Saturday, the fire had scorched about 550 acres, Ruths said.

The thick haze that enveloped the area Friday had largely cleared, but peat in the swampy areas will continue to smolder and winds could push smoke toward populated areas.

"We can only hope Mother Nature brings us a rainstorm to put that out," Ruths said.

Reach Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.

Firefighters keep watch over smoldering Chassahowitzka peat 03/30/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 9:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick Baker's debate answer revives painful St. Pete controversy

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Former Mayor Bill Foster fired one of his top administrators, Goliath Davis III, six years ago for disobeying an order to attend the funeral of a slain police officer.

    St. Petersburg police officers stand by two caskets before the beginning of the 2011 funeral services for Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD   |  Times]
  2. Plan your weekend July 28-30: Comic Con, Lady Antebellum, Margarita Wars, Tampa's Fourth Friday

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Geek out

    Tampa Bay Comic Con: The fan convention returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, bringing actors Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura), Khary Payton (Ezekiel in The Walking Dead) and the …

    Ibri Day poses for a photo at opening day of the 2015 Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center. (Friday, July 31, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. Editorial: Trump assaults rule of law by attacking attorney general

    Editorials

    Jeff Sessions was a terrible choice for attorney general, and the policies he has pursued in his brief tenure — cracking down on immigrants, bullying sheriffs, prosecuting low-level offenders to the max — are counterproductive. But the stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Sessions this …

    The stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Attorney General Jess Sessions this week assault the integrity of the Department of Justice and the rule of law.
  4. Iowa group sues United over death of giant rabbit, Simon

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — A group of Iowa businessmen filed a lawsuit Wednesday against United Airlines over the death of Simon, a giant rabbit whose lifeless body was discovered in a kennel after a flight from London to Chicago.

    In this May 8, 2017 file photo, attorney Guy Cook speaks a news conference while looking at a photo of Simon, a giant rabbit that died after flying from the United Kingdom to Chicago, in Des Moines, Iowa. A group of Iowa businessmen have filed a lawsuit against United Airlines over the death of Simon. The businessmen filed the lawsuit Wednesday, July 26, 2017, more than three months after airline workers found the continental rabbit named Simon dead. [AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall]
  5. Elderly Brooksville woman dies in Wednesday crash

    Accidents

    BROOKSVILLE — An 87-year-old woman died following a Wednesday morning car crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.