USA — SALT SPRINGS Marion County Fire Rescue officials said residents of 15 to 20 homes were evacuated and that structures were damaged, perhaps homes, Saturday afternoon as a brush fire consumed some 500 acres.
One resident said some homes in her Woodshaven neighborhood had burned, as had several out buildings. Officials said boats and cars were also damaged by the blaze.
Fire rescue spokeswoman Jessica Greene said the blaze, called the Hopkins Prairie Fire, began as a 50-acre fire, but by nightfall Saturday had grown to more than 500 acres, and could grow to 1,000 acres in scope. The only injury appears to be suffered by a firefighter cut a finger while helping move a residents boat, Greene said.
People who live in an area stretching from Forest Road 54 to Forest Road 33, along Florida Highway 19, were asked to evacuate their homes. although officials said that some residents declined to evacuate and remained with their homes.
A shelter was opened for evacuees at Forest Assembly Church, officials said.
Helen Howard, who has lived in Woodshaven since the early 1980s, said her husband had called her at 6:20 p.m. and told her that the buildings adjacent to their home had been destroyed by the fire.
Howard said she had been at home watching the fire as it skirted to the north. Then, she said, the fire appeared in their neighborhood, which has three roads with homes on them. Before leaving, she said she could hear the crackling sounds of homes burning.