HERNANDO BEACH, Fla. – A brush fire started by lightning Saturday grew to 1,100 acres on Monday as firefighters from several agencies fought the blaze. Right now, the fire is 90 percent contained.
Crews from the Hernando County Fire Rescue and the Florida Forest Service, among others, are setting back fires to contain the blaze.
The county said that commissioners would consider instituting a burn ban during their meeting on Tuesday. Since January, Hernando County Fire Rescue has responded to 34 brush fires that have charred nearly 1,200 acres. According to the county, the area has a 518 rating on the Keetch-Gyram Drought Index, which ranges from 0 (very moist) to 800 (very dry).
About 7:23 p.m. Saturday, fire rescue was dispatched to the brush fire near the Hernando Beach water tower in the Weeki Wachee Preserve, east of Shoal Line Boulevard at Calienta Street. Crews found a small, three-acre blaze in an area inaccessible by vehicles.
Judith Tear of the Florida Forest Service said the fire was started by lightning.
The Florida Division of Forestry was requested and has been on scene since approximately 8 p.m.
The good news is there are no structures in immediate area in danger. One home was voluntary evacuated, but there is no damage to the home.
Florida Forestry says smoke will be a factor for awhile and they are urging residents to be careful.
HCFR has crews throughout the Hernando Beach community providing surveillance and standing by for structure protection. The Florida Forest Service is conducting back burning operations to create fire breaks to contain the fire.
Shoal Line Boulevard has reopened to all traffic, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office on Twitter at 1:33 p.m.
Shoal Line Boulevard is open at this time.— Hernando Sheriff (@HernandoSheriff) April 10, 2017
The Hernando Beach boat ramp is closed.
The Florida Fire Service, Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Hernando County Emergency Management, Fire Corps and the Red Cross are currently providing mutual aid.
Fire Rescue has four engines, four brush trucks and a water tanker.
Staffwise, there are two battalion chiefs, three chief officers as part of a total of 22 personnel. Assistance also arrived from Pasco and Citrus counties.
Several Florida counties have burn bans in effect, including Polk, Osceola, Okeechobee, Glades, Hendry, Seminole and Nassau.
If there are evacuations, residents in the affected areas will receive an automated call.
The Hernando County fire began just a day after a brush fire shut down roads near 4th Avenue and Gandy Boulevard in Pinellas County.