PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – The fire near the Anclote River is now 2,275 acres and 70 percent contained, according to the Florida Forest Service. The fire was stopped about 1.5 miles from the Suncoast Parkway.
All camping at Starkey Wilderness Park is canceled until May 11 due to the Anclote Branch fire, and the bicycle and hiking trails are closed until further notice, according to Pasco County officials
The cause of the fire remains unknown.
There were lower wind gusts Sunday, which helped firefighters contain the fire, but Monday, the weather worsens with lower humidity and stronger gusts.
Officials remind residents that the county is under a burn ban. That means there can be no open flames in any county park, and no burning of trash, garbage or yard debris. The charge carries a $500 fine. The order means no flame of any kind -- no grills.
How can you help the firefighters? Pasco County is looking for the following items: water, sports drinks, lip balm, bug repellent, nonperishable snacks that are individually wrapped and sun block. Please do not donate unwrapped food or items that can go bad. It takes time to get the supplies to the fire crews. The public can make donations via the Salvation Army receiving station in the front entrance of Starkey Wilderness Park.
The Emergency Management Division has ended the voluntary evacuation of the Bexley Ranch subdivision. All resident can return home.
Residents are reminded that the smoke is a health risk. Be sure to close doors and windows and turn on the air conditioning to recirculate indoor air.
Residents near Starkey Wilderness will continue to see and smell the smoke in the area.Until there is rain, fire officials say for the next 30 days smoke will surround communities nearby.
Equipment from the Southwest Water Management District is helping fight the fire.
All lanes of State Road 54 and Wesley Chapel were re-opened.
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