Brush fires burn nearly 1,000 acres in Polk County as dry weather continues

Firefighters and the forestry service are working to put out several brush fires that have burned nearly a thousand acres in Polk County

The fires started on the River Ranch Property in southeast Polk County and are at varying degrees of containment -- from 60 to 95%.

"We're trying to get containment lines in around the fire to make sure there's no way it can escape and get bigger," explained Todd Chlanda with the Division of Forestry. 

RELATED: Crews working to keep brush fires away from homes in Polk County

The Florida Forestry Service is battling several brush fires in Polk County by land and by air, dropping buckets of water onto the hot spots. The fires altogether have burned nearly a thousand acres in the River Ranch area. Several camps were lost but homes and lives were not threatened.

Courtesy: Melissa Taylor

"Just because conditions are so dry, the fires tend to throw more embers and ashes," said Chlanda. "And with it being dry it doesn't take much to start a new fire."

The fire leaped out of the River Ranch area and over Highway 630 into the Indian Lake Estates area. Approximately 100 acres there have burned, but it's now about 95% contained.  

RELATED: Polk County issues burn ban as stretch of dry weather continues

The forestry service does have outside resources to fight the fire including help from Polk County Fire Rescue and task forces from across the state made up of dozers and brush trucks.

Chlanda says only widespread significant rainfall could improve these conditions.

A brush fire on Thursday threatened a jail but firefighters were able to contain it before it got to the building.

A brush fire on Thursday threatened a jail, but firefighters were able to protect the structure. 

"Even if it rains two or three inches...we're so dry the vegetation's going to absorb that real quick and within an hour or two we'll be right back to where we are right now," said Chlanda.

Another brush fire threatened the South County jail in Frostproof on Thursday afternoon, but firefighters protected the structure quickly. 

The causes of the fires are still under investigation.

The forestry service and firefighters will remain in the area for the rest of the day and possibly through the weekend.

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