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Drought increases fire dangers as two wildfires burn in Volusia County; smoke comes from North Florida
By Pat Andrews
posted Apr 11, 2012 - 6:31:09pm
Two wildfires are burning in Volusia County. The smoke local residents have been seeing and smelling today, however, is coming from a raging wildfire along the Georgia-Florida border at the Osceola National Forest near Jacksonville. It's called the "County Line Fire," Florida Forest Service manager Bill Scaramellino said.
That fire has consumed 25,000-30,000 acres since it began April 5.
Winds shifted and were coming from the north today, carrying smoke into Volusia County. The fire is not contained, and getting equipment into the Pinhook Swamp area is difficult, Scaramellino said.
The Weather Channel reported today that the fire has the potential to burn the entire 60,000-acre swamp.
Firefighters conducted strategic burnout operations last night to get fuel out of the fire's path.
Drought is a major culprit, as it is in the Volusia County wildfires.
The drought index in Volusia County is 625 out of a maximum 800, up five points from the previous day.
The 140-acre Sharp Road fire that started April 4 off Ranchette Road, west of New Smyrna Beach, never went out completely, Scaramellino said, and falling leaf litter is reigniting the fire. Damaged trees are falling and catching fire.
A 100-acre-plus fire called the Champion fire is burning south of State Road 44 and west of Interstate 95 today.
"What we really need is some rain," Scaramellino said, adding that the dry season started early this year.
A burn ban is in effect in Volusia County.
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