We're continuing to update the controlled burn at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park in North Jacksonville after flames jumped the containment lines yesterday.
We are told by the Florida Forest Service that a 95 acre controlled burn was scheduled for Pumpkin Hill State Park Tuesday when it got out of control. It grew as large as 400 acres, but is now down to 363 acres. It is 97 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon.
Forest Area Supervisor Mike Work with the Florida Forest Service says Wednesday’s efforts were to improve the containment lines so that JFRD and other fire crews can get in there with some of the special equipment they use to put out fires like this. Work says morale on the lines is good.
Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Annaleasa Winter tells WOKV they hope to have the fire 100% contained within another day, although it will take a lot of rain to get the fire fully extinguished.
We are tracking a storm cell moving in from the Gulf of Mexico to the First Coast that could start impacting us by this afternoon and into the evening. Accuweather meteorologist John Greshak says the storm is capable of producing hail, gusty winds, and even an isolated tornado or two. Friday there is still a chance for a storm though it won’t be nearly as severe as we’re expecting today. It should dry up and warm back up into the 70s by the time the weekend gets here. You can check your 5-day forecast and see the storm coming on our interactive radar.
Bad weather called off containment efforts for the rest of the day, although Winter says the spots they are most concerned about are secure. She says the weather overall has been more favorable to their containment efforts so far. Potential wind moving in to the area could once again cause problems.
There were at least four homes being threatened although there were no formal evacuations that the Florida Forest Service was aware of. The fire was directed around the homes and has since been extinguished in those specific areas.
Portions of Cedar Point Road were shut for several hours as well because the fire was directed up to the road itself Tuesday. Police escorted area residents to their homes through yesterday evening. Parts of Cedar Point were again closed Wednesday morning, however, because of the smoke from the fire mixed with fog. Winter says the smoke should not be a big factor moving forward.
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