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Fire destroys woods, doesn't endanger homes

Firefighters battled a fire in southern Orange County that had consumed up to 350 acres of dense woodland Sunday but did not pose any immediate danger to homes or businesses.

The fire, which was first reported Saturday afternoon, was being helped by 15 mph winds, said Orange County Fire Rescue spokesman Vince Preston.

Authorities briefly closed parts of tourist-heavy International Drive south of Orlando on Saturday, but the roadway remained open Sunday. The fire was centered about 8 miles away from Sea World but was headed away from the theme park, Preston said.

The state Division of Forestry was using helicopters Sunday to drop water on the southern flank of the blaze. Firefighters were also using the common technique of setting fires ahead of the advancing flames to slow down the spread of the fire.

The area, which just weeks ago was trying to dry out from record rainfall, is ripe for brush fires, Preston said.