87.2 F
Ocala
Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Firefighters battling multiple wildfires throughout the Central Florida region

The Ocala National Forest continues to experience wildfire activity due to ongoing dry, hot weather.

Five helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft were making water and fire-retardant drops on the fast-moving flames from the Powerline Fire last week.

Several wildfires burning in the forest will continue to smolder until the area receives significant rainfall. Here’s a glance at the fire activity as it now stands:

  • Riverside Fire, Marion County: This 47.6-acre fire was reported late on the afternoon of Sunday, June 2 and is located west of Lake Delancy. Air tankers and engines provided initial attack, with crews reinforcing fire lines. No homes or structures have been damaged or lost.
  • Scenic South Fire, Lake County: This 15-acre fire was reported Saturday, June 1. The fire is located southeast of Alexander Springs. It was being monitored with helicopter bucket drops occurring as necessary. No homes or structures have been damaged or lost.
  • Billies Bay Fire, Lake County: This 2.5-acre wilderness fire was caused by lightning on Saturday, June 1. It is in monitor status and some helicopter bucket drops may occur. No homes or structures have been damaged or lost.
  • Island Pond Fire, Marion County: This 101-acre fire was caused by lightning on Wednesday, May 29. It is 100 percent contained. Firefighters are monitoring the area and no homes or structures have been damaged or lost.
  • Powerline Fire, Marion County: This 466-acre fire was caused by lightning on Wednesday, May 29. It is 100 percent contained. The fire was off of 183rd Avenue Rd. Firefighters are continuing to monitor the area. No homes or structures have been damaged or lost.

Fire officials also are warning that smoke from fires has the potential to impair air quality. Sensitive groups should take precautions to avoid exposure to smoke. For information on air quality in your area, visit www.airnow.gov.

Motorists also are cautioned to drive slowly with lights on while traveling in smoky areas. Drivers should be particularly cautious when it is foggy. Morning fog can mix with smoke and decrease visibility further.

Visitors to the Ocala National Forest should make sure campfires are completely out. Dispose of wood ash properly. Don’t dump ashes on the ground. Ensure chainsaws, off-highway vehicles and motorcycles have spark arrestors. Never throw cigarettes out of car windows and don’t park or drive vehicles on dry grass. For more information on wildfire prevention, visit www.smokeybear.com or www.firewise.org.

Drone pilots also are being warned not to fly in areas where wildfires are burning, as it will impede helicopters and air tankers from making drops.