Pasco brush fire holding at 2,200 acres, now 70 percent contained

- Firefighters in Pasco County continued Sunday battling a brush fire near the Starkey Wilderness Preserve. The preserve is currently closed and was evacuated when the fire broke out on Saturday. It's the second week that a brush fire prompted the closure of the park.

Emergency officials said the fire is burning 2,275 acres in the remote area of Pasco County. As of 4:30 p.m. Sunday, the fire was said to be 70 percent contained.

The Suncoast Parkway was closed for some time Saturday and into Sunday morning, however the roadway reopened around 10:30 a.m. Officials are warning drivers that smoke is still in the area and to please use caution.

All camping in Starkey Park has been canceled through Thursday because of the fire. All bike and hiking trails also remain closed until further notice. 

Pasco officials said a burn ban remains in effect for the county and any open flames in parks are prohibited. Residents cannot burn trash, garbage or yard debris and are being reminded not to throw cigarettes out of car windows. 

In Hillsborough County, a 175-acre brush fire closed part of Interstate 75 between Fletcher Ave. and Bruce B. Downs on Saturday. The highway has since reopened.

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