A wildfire causes 70 acres to burn at Ross Prairie State Forest

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 10:01 PM EST
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MARION OAKS, Fla. (WCJB) - Around 7:45 Sunday night the forest at Ross Prairie State Forest near Marion Oaks caught fire.

“When I got on scene I could see the glow I could see what was behind me I knew we had a ranger coming in,” said senior park ranger Josh Mousel.

Officials said the fire was started by people on private property and then it spread to the forest.

“I’m very familiar with the forest I’ve been in this forest in particular for almost 10 years. So when I saw where he was and I knew roughly where it was we’ve had burns out here in the past and we’ve had a fire out here in the past,” said Mousel.

Mousel added that the direction of the wind and how hard the wind was blowing was a major factor in spreading the flames. The forest continued to burn due to the lack of rain.

“Factor in with all the other things the wind blowing across all the stuff here we haven’t had rain in a while it’s continuing to dry out anything that’s on the ground. So not only is it pushing its kind of helping to preheat the stuff in front as the wind is pushing it.”

Ludie Bond with the Florida Forest Service said the fire was slow moving so animals were able to get away.

“The animals did have a chance to move out of the way and what is beneficial once the fire moves through the forest floor and burns off some of that understory after we get the rain that’s predicted in the coming days we’ll have some new nutritious growth that with come on the forest floor.”

The fire is 100% contained and no homes were threatened. Forest officials said there will be smokey conditions until the rain comes.

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