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Guard fights Flagler wildfires

Black Hawks drop water on the raging 5-day-old blaze.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 6, 2007


ORLANDO - The Florida National Guard made helicopter drops of water Saturday as high winds fueled wildfires raging in Flagler County.

About 150 firefighters were fighting the blaze in south Flagler County that has consumed about 5, 000 acres since it began five days ago, officials said.

"We have crews working night and day trying to establish control lines, " said Timber Weller, a spokesman for the Florida Division of Forestry. The Flagler County fire is about 40 percent controlled, he said.

No homes or structures are threatened and no injuries have been reported, Weller said.

Officials reported the fire 60 percent contained Friday, but high winds Saturday and forecast for Sunday caused that assessment to drop, Weller said.

Gov. Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency Thursday, allowing for federal funds and the use of the Florida National Guard.

The Guard dispatched two Black Hawk helicopters Saturday that dropped water on the fire.

The nearest homes are a half-mile from the fire and not in danger, but evacuations are possible if the flames shift, Weller said.

"The whole state of Florida is very dry, " Weller said. "This is not going to be the last wildfire this year."

In Lake County, an 881-acre fire was burning Saturday within containment lines, officials there said. No homes or structures were threatened there.