Brush Fires Erupt; Conditions Remain Ripe
Blaze Threatens Homes Near Osteen

POSTED: Monday, March 9, 2009
UPDATED: 8:41 am EDT March 9, 2009

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. -- Two brush fires broke out in Central Florida overnight Sunday as conditions remain ripe for blazes.

A 1-acre fire burned off Marsh Road in Winter Garden and another blaze ignited on Forsyth Road at Muskogee Street just east of Baldwin Park. Both fires were contained and no damage was reported.

Meanwhile, fire crews watched for hot spots after a brush fire burned near homes in the Osteen area of Volusia County. Five houses were threatened -- but not damaged -- in a wooded area along state Road 415.

"It's drought condition, which we're in now, but it will get worse if we don't get rain," Volusia County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Barry Ellis said.

"It's devastating to have people lose their homes. Yeah, you can rebuild, but the anxiety and stress you go through is tremendous," said resident Aretta Grasmick, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years and was forced to lead her horses to safety.

Firefighters said dry weather, low humidity and foliage hit by recent hard freezes could combine to create a fierce fire season over the next few months.

Central Florida is about 3 inches below average for rainfall this year