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Hudson brush fire may be arson, investigators say; second Pasco brush fire breaks out

3:13 PM, May 1, 2012   |    comments
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Hudson, Florida --  Investigators believe the cause of a 115-acre fire in Pasco County is arson.  Fire investigators believe the blaze started on the backside of The Links golf course, near one of the greens.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Arson Tip Line at 813-929-2750.  There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.  You can remain anonymous.

PHOTOS: Hudson Brush Fire

The fire was 50% contained as of noon Tuesday.  Firefighters are working to broaden fire lines dug Monday night to keep the fire from spreading.  There is concern embers from small fires will spread.

At this point, firefighters do not think the fire will kick back up enough to threaten any nearby homes, but they are keeping a close eye on it.

Meanwhile, fire officials say a second brush fire broke out Tuesday afternoon, north of State Road 52, along Word of Life Drive off Hudson Avenue. So far, there is no word on how large this fire is, nor do investigators know how it started.

Fire Rescue says it's possible US-19 may have to be shut down again in the area of New York Avenue during the early morning hours Wednesday as conditions change throughout the night. 

Fire Training Chief Andy Fossa says Monday's brush fire was one the worst he's ever had to battle in his 22 years of firefighting, because of the windy conditions which allowed the flames to spread so quickly. 

Earlier Report:

The Florida Highway Patrol has re-opened a one mile stretch of US 19 in Hudson that had been shut down after heavy smoke from a nearby brush fire caused visibility problems last night.

As of 7:30am, visibility was clear although several hot spots continued to smolder in the brush near the road.

Firefighters have the roughly 100 acre brush fire about 50% contained as of early this morning.

The cause is not known.

About 150 people voluntarily evacuated their homes.  The Red Cross opened a shelter at St. Marks Presbyterian last night which gave shelter to about 15 people.

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