Park damaged by wildfire back open

After a days-long fire threatened their homes, residents try to return to normal.

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. -- Despite a sign greeting you and saying it's closed, Starkey Wilderness Park is back open, a few days after a brush fire shut it down.

“I'm very happy the park's back open,” said park visitor Loren Reed.

Reed enjoys working out there and brushed by where the fire tore up the park. You can't see it from the road, but it's not far from it.

“I just happened upon it … it's very spooky because usually on a Saturday it's a ton of people and it's kind of a little smoky and there's little hot spots here and there,” she said.

Pasco fire crews and the forest service fought three other wildfires this week – all caused by either a person or lightning.

Starkey is a popular place for sightseeing, jogging and biking. Many weren't happy it closed for a few days.

“[Despite] the sign saying closed, we said, well, let's sneak in and see first and, uh, it worked,” said park visitor Ken Reed.

Some other parks in our area are closed because of brush fires. So Reed and his friend Santosh Krinsky are glad they could enjoy the great weather at Starkey.

“We came in and we started hiking and we are happy about that,” Krinsky said.

Less than 200 acres were burned in the park that covers more than 8,000 acres of land.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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