Florida Firefighters Hope for Break in the Weather

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Firefighters and residents near the northern Florida town of Lake City hope the arrival of a cold front Sunday will bring more rain than wind, which might allow them to get an edge on a wildfire that has burned more than 100,000 acres.

The fire, called "Bugaboo" after the island in a southern Georgia swamp where it began, has now forced the evacuation of hundreds of people and shut down two interstate highways. The blaze was started by a lightning strike more than a week ago.

The smoke spread so thickly it forced the shutdown of two interstates, and reduced visibility in nearby Lake City to yards. Many of the town's residents were unsettled by the smoke's arrival.

Claire Garcia watched as the smoke settled over the town, so thick that it almost cut off the sun. "It got black around 3:30," Garcia said. "It was really spooky."

But what put residents on edge, made firefighters breathe a little easier.

At a staging area in the Osceola National Forest, officials took advantage of the very conditions that made the smoke so bad — high humidity and no wind — to plan ahead and beef up their firebreaks.

With the help of cooler temperatures and a lack of wind, firefighters hope that soon, the fire will be under control, and evacuated residents will be allowed to return to their homes.

Kevin Allen reports from member station WUFT.



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