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Forestry Firefighters with Several Tractors Continue to Fight Fire Sunday

9:48 PM, Apr 15, 2012   |    comments
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CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- A fast-moving brush fire that grew from three to 75 acres in mere hours is now 50 percent contained, according to Annaleasa Winters with the Division of Forestry.

The fire is believed to have been started accidentally in the 700 block of Crowl Road, off Highway 17 south of Green Cove Springs.

Clay County fire officials say the fire started at approximately 1:06 p.m. Saturday as an accidental burn.

On Sunday morning, the Florida Forest Service continued to work on the fire, with heavy tractors continuing to dig fire lines around the fire on the right flank. The brush fire has now reached 85 acres according to the Florida Forest Service.

Highway 17 was closed in both directions temporarily because of smoke.

There are around two dozen homes in the area. Two homes were evacuated. Clay County Fire Chief Lorin Mock said eight homes were in danger, although there are no mandatory evacuations.

"Hopefully we don't lose eveything," Crowl Road resident Holly Crawford said.

Crawford hoped her family would be enjoying a peaceful holiday weekend.
Instead, fire that started at the end of her road, has her packing up her bags and the animals.

"We have a decent amount of animals," Crawford said, referring to their eight chickens, three dogs, a bird and a cat.
"If we gotta leave I'll take all my animals," Crawford said. "I'm not going to leave them."

It was early Saturday afternoon she noticed the smoke, ash, and then the firetrucks.
"The fire was very small when [it was] initially reported it but by the time we got units down there to attempt to control it, it had grown substationally," said Lorin Mock, Clay County Fire Chief.
Despite efforts to contain it, Mock said the fire has jumped control lines multiple times, growing to 85 acres in mere hours. Several homes were also at risk.
"The fire has continued to overlap our fire lines as we them in place," Mock said. "Every time a new windspeed picks up it moves it in a different direction."
"We're pretty much just getting everything important, paperwork," Crawford said. "Things that if we were to lose everything we can at least manage."
If Crawford has to leave, they'll stay with family nearby.

She just hopes when they return, their home will still be here.
"I mean you have everything and then one minute it's gone," Crawford said.

A voluntary evacuation shelter has been opened at the Decoy Baptist Church at 671 Decoy Road.

The Red Cross, Florida Forest Service and St. Johns County Fire Rescue crews are assisting.

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