SEBRING Firefighters kept a wary eye on a contained wildfire near Golf Hammock and Quail Road that scorched 60 acres, but no homes were burned and no injuries were reported.
A shed sustained some damage in the blaze and one house was evacuated, but residents were able to return later in the evening. Fire investigators said a campfire started the blaze.
Sixteen homes were saved, with fire burning behind them and at times within 30 feet or less from the structures, according to the press release.
Mop up continued Friday as conditions began to dry into the afternoon. And afternoon rain helped firefighting efforts. The fire was 100 percent contained by 7:14 p.m. Thursday but earlier the fire was spreading out of control, according to Melissa Yunis with the Florida Forest Service.
The fire started at 4:55 p.m., according a press release from Yunis. By 6:28 p.m. it had spread but was stopped by firefighters using trucks, helicopters and heavy equipment.
The fire will not be controlled for a few days or longer. The forest service doesn’t consider a fire controlled until it is completely put out. A fire this size and close proximity to homes will be monitored and mopped to ensure the fire will not rekindle.
Florida Forest Service dozers were able to establish control lines all around the fire. They worked behind the homes initially then worked all the way around the fire. The dozers scrape a dirt trail all around the fire.
A Florida Forest Service helicopter dropped water from nearby canals, lakes or waterways, with 29 water drops at 320 gallons per load by attached bucket to bottom of helicopter.
Firefighting agencies on scene were Hardee County, West Sebring, Sun N Lakes North, Highlands Lakes, Lorida, Highlands Park, DeSoto City, City of Sebring and the Highlands County Fire Service.