Brush fire flares in Pasco County - FOX 13 News

Brush fire flares in Pasco County

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(Photo courtesy: Bryan Farrow) (Photo courtesy: Bryan Farrow)

Firefighters contained a 75-acre brush fire that closed part of U.S. 19 Friday afternoon.

It is 95 percent contained, according to Keith Mousel, with the Florida Forest Service.

As for the other five percent, Mousel said, "we'll be out here several days if not weeks, and until we don't see any smoke, it won't be under complete control."

About 60 homes and six commercial properties were in the path of fire earlier Friday. Pasco Firefighters got the call around 2:15pm.

When they arrived, U.S. 19 was covered in a thick layer of smoke.

An afternoon sea breeze pushed the fire away from the homes -- but unfortunately, toward the highway.

Law enforcement closed it for about four hours as firefighters doused the blaze from the air and on the ground.

Forest Service brought several bulldozers to dig around the perimeter of the fire to prevent it from spreading.

"Dirt won't burn," Mousel explained.

A helicopter flew in from Ft. Myers equipped with a large bucket that dropped loads of water on hot spots.

Dozens of neighbors watched in awe, hoping the fire continued to push further from their homes.

"I just moved over here like three weeks ago, so I was like 'what horrible luck if my house burnt down," Brian Edwards said.

Tim Cline was a bit more optimistic and had a plan.

"You watch what the trees do, and then if it gets close, you just haul butt,"Cline said.

Firefighters ruled out weather as a potential cause for the fire and said it was likely set by someone, whether intentionally or unintentionally has not been determined.

Fire crews will continue to monitor hot spots in the coming days until the fire is completely out.

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