Florida Crews Battle Fast-Moving Wildfire

May 22, 2008
Fire crews are setting fires by hand in a protected wilderness area.

PAISLEY, Fla. --

Fire crews are setting fires by hand in a protected wilderness area Thursday to burn out a suspicious 1,000-acre wildfire that forced families from their homes.

IMAGES: Wildfire Forces Evacuations

A wind-whipped fire grew from 50 to 1,000 acres near the Deerhaven community in Paisley Wednesday and prompted the evacuation of more than 100 homes.

The fire remained 20 percent contained Thursday and forced crews to formulate a plan to stop the spread of flames.

Since fire crews are not able to take machinery into a designated wilderness area, they have been forced to walk into the woods to set controlled fires.

There are a lot of archeological and historical sites firefighters are trying to protect in the woods, Local 6's Kimberly Houk reported.

They don't want the fire to jump the St. Johns River or flames will move into Volusia County, Houk reported.

Weather Helps Firefighters

Winds in Lake County died down Thursday and helped firefighters control the wildfire.

However, the weather could change, police said.

"Fuels and weather," Division of Forestry representative Ludie Bond said. "The fuels that we have in this area, we have sand pines, flat woods, hard woods and a real mixture of fuels in there. That is what helped the fire go down. The other thing is the weather. We have had a lot of change of weather in the last 72 hours."

Another fire sparked in the area Thursday too.

Both fires are being called suspicious, Houk reported.

Investigators are trying to determine how the fires started.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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