Polk County brush fire 50% contained

- Crews with the Florida Forestry Service are battling a 500-acre fire in the area of the Nalcrest community in Polk County. 

The fire started last week as a result of a lightning strike in a wooded area. Crews had containment lines around the fire but it was able to jump the line early Sunday morning thanks to the combination of dry season and low humidity levels.

Residents in the area say the fire was a problem before it threatened homes. 

"We've ben smoked in since Thursday night, and Saturday morning it was so bad you couldn't see our car from the house to the car, the smoke was that thick," said Elvis Abney, who lives near the fire. 

Todd Chlanda with the Florida Forest Service says they, along with Polk Fire Rescue, will be working through to night on the containment lines. 

"We plow the ground, it's down to bare mineral soil, and we plow through the roots and everything else so it can't go underground and pop out on the other side of the line."

Officials say eight homes had to be evacuated Sunday afternoon but have since been allowed to return. 

Crews from several agencies are still on scene monitoring the fire. 

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