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Brush fire follows lightning storms

Published June 13, 2007



A fire consumed more than 150 acres of brush and dried-out lake bed in eastern Citrus County Tuesday, sending a thick plume of smoke into the air, but destroying no homes, authorities said.

The blaze broke out about 3:30 p.m. east of Floral City and U.S. 41, shortly after a lightning storm, said Patty Jefferson, assistant fire chief of the Citrus County Fire Rescue. Two people reported seeing lightning hit trees, but officials had not confirmed the source of the fire.

Firefighters, using a Citrus County Sheriff's Office helicopter, dropped water on the flames, but by evening, with no homes in danger, decided to let the fire run its course, Jefferson said. About five members of the state Division of Forestry were on scene.

"They're basically in a defensive mode ... protecting the structures, monitoring the movement of it, cutting fire blocks and hoping it will burn itself out, " she said.

Using an automated phone system, authorities notified residents around Floral City to expect to see flames and smoke throughout the night.

The blaze had mostly burned the grass and brush in a dried section of Tsala Apopka Lake and by morning, officials expected most of the fire would be out, with some smoke still lingering.

[Last modified June 13, 2007, 07:41:28]

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