USA – The first fire broke out at a mulching facility near State Road 54, east of Gunn Highway in Odessa, just after 9 a.m., and was quickly put under control.
A second fire broke out just after 10 a.m. and grew to 40 acres. Its now 90 percent contained, according to Pasco officials.
Authorities say the second fire was prompted by embers at the mulching facility that caught on fire. High winds caused the flames to spread rapidly, making this a difficult fire to fight.
Multiple agencies, including the National Guard and the Florida Forest Service, aided Pasco crews.
State Road 54 has been reduced to just one lane to make it easier for firefighting vehicles to get through.
Pasco County closed and evacuated Starkey Wilderness Park and canceled reservations for Sunday. The park will reopen on Monday at 6:30 am and resume normal operating hours. Bike trails into the park are still closed.
Temporary flight restrictions have been put in place in the area where the fire is burning.
The nearest homes are about two miles away.
Officials expect smoke from this fire to have a lingering effect on residents and advise homeowners in the area close all their doors and windows and turn on their air conditioning to recycle insight air and keep air clean.
News Channel 8 is tracking this developing story and will bring you new information as it is made available.