Wildfire contained after spreading 325 acres | News
Highlands County, Florida-- UPDATE: Florida Fire Service officials announced just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday that crews successfully contained the wildfire as it reached 325 acres.
A helicopter dropped nearly 13,000 gallons of water to assist in extinguishing the flames, and ground crews used plows to remove vegetation and create "control lines" to keep the fire from spreading.
State Wildland Firefighters will now work through the night to complete what they call an exhausting "mop-up phase" to ensure the fire does not rekindle.
They will use engines to wet down hot spots or burning trees and dozers to knock down dead trees and widen control lines.
Officials say they have concerns about tomorrow's forecasted high winds, which "could move hot ash into unburned dry fuel."
The Florida Forest Service will return tomorrow to continue mop-up and keep an eye on the area.
UPDATE: Crews have reportedly contained 60% of the flames in the 100+ acre wildefire near Venus, Florida.
Because of the current lack of humidity in the air, officials say the flames are spreading at a rate of six miles-per-hour.
Ground crews are having a difficult time accessing a section of the fire that has spread to a bayhead, or dried out wet area.
However, reports say a Florida Forest Service Helicopter is on-scene dropping 360-gallon buckets of water to cool the fire and allow crews to get closer.
Additional State Wildland Firefighters are also on their way.
Florida Forest Service and local fire officials are currently fighting a large wildfire threatening one unoccupied, Highlands County home.
Preliminary reports said both air and ground crews are working to extinguish the flames, which have spread across 100 acres of Palmetto and Pine Trees near the Old Venus Post Office.
The most recent release says Wildland firefighters commonly use a combination of bull dozers and fire engines to tackle wildfires. If the woods are thick and engines can't safely gain access to this fire, crews use bull dozers and a plow to pull up plants that can fuel a fire to stop it from spreading.
The cause of the fire remains unknown at this time, but a Department of Agriculture safety message said humans are the cause of nine out of 10 wildfires.
10 News will continue with updates as they become available.