Halfmoon Prairie Wildfire
Published April 9th, 2013
Some officials planning on attending a Wildland task force meeting Monday morning, found themselves working a wildfire instead.
The meeting was canceled because of the Halfmoon Prairie fire that broke out Sunday night.
The fire has burned more than 400 acres and is currently 50 percent contained.
"You could smell the smoke and get to looking there was a big bloom of smoke," said Ron Rugh.
Another wildfire in Marion County threatened about 200 structures on Sunday night.
Rugh snapped pictures as the flames were headed in his direction.
He and some other residents at Lake in the Forest campground were asked to evacuate.
"We left only about a half a mile away and spent a couple of hours until they got the fire pretty well controlled," said Rugh.
The fire started east of Halfmoon Lake just before 7 p.m.
Marion County Fire Rescue, the Florida Forest Service and the United States Forest Service are all working on containing the Halffmoon Prairie fire.
On Monday morning firefighters conducted a 60 acre back burn.
Ludie Bond with the Division of Forestry said there are a couple of reasons for a back burn.
One is to reduce dry vegetation in the area.
Also to protect homes that are threatened by the wildfire.
"So the idea is to plow a containment line around the perimeter of the fire to light fire off that containment line, so it goes into the existing fire. So that fire is prevented from moving towards the home," said Bond who is the Public Information Officer for the Division of Forestry.
Bond said the fire was caused by an escaped campfire in a primtive campsite.
Last week the United States Forest Service banned campfires in primitive areas throughout the Ocala National Forest.
"Campfires are allowed in designated campsites throughout Ocala National Forest, but those campsites have fire rings and are well maintained and monitored. So it's a much safer environment then lighting a campfire in the woods," said Bond.
Residents and drivers should keep in mind that there will be smoke and haze for the next couple of days.
Mainly near State Road 40 and 183rd avenue.
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