Florida Brush Fire Evacuations Lifted


Firefighters across Central Florida reported some progress on Thursday morning in the battle against two brush fires.

A 1,200-acre blaze in Flagler County prompted an evacuation order for the Rima Ridge subdivision on Wednesday, but residents were allowed to return to their homes overnight, WESH 2 News reported.

Officials said more humid conditions, lighter winds and better fire lines worked to the advantage of fire crews, but conditions in Flagler and Volusia counties remain very smoky and drivers are being advised to use caution on area roadways. But the humidity and lighter winds were not enough, as the Flagler County fire has grown to 2,200 acres as of Thursday afternoon.

55 firefighters are working to contain the brushfire on Thursday afternoon, and are trying to ensure it stays in areas that have already burned, instead of burning green areas.

Several residents said they may stay somewhere else because of smoke filling their homes.

Residents Brace For More Evacuations Firefighters to the north-northwest of the blaze are ready to go to work if the fire heads their way. Residents in Cody's Corner and Hawk's Creek are being told to be ready to evacuate if needed.

An evacuation order was issued on Wednesday for about 150 families in the Rima Ridge area. They scrambled to pack personal belongings and some decided to stay behind and protect their homes.

"I have no delusions that we're going to be able to do more than the professionals are going to be able to do. I mean we can keep an eye on it. I wouldn't say that because nothing happened in '98 that that's completely making me feel comfortable because we all know how disasters go. They can miss you one time and get you the next time," a homeowner said.

The residents of Rima Ridge breathed a big sigh of relief on Wednesday night when they learned the evacuation order was lifted, but many on Thursday afternoon said they have trucks filled with their belongings at the ready.

Lake County Fire 65 Percent Contained Another brush fire in Lake County is also becoming less of a threat on Thursday.

The blaze is burning near the Royal Trails subdivision northeast of Mount Dora near Jericho Road and Royal Trails Road.

It's not far from Mount Dora and Eustis and is not threatening any homes. Officials said the fire is 65 percent contained and has consumed 850 acres of land.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the blaze yet.

Wind direction is a concern for all the brushfires burning currently.