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Forest Service Battles Wildfire In Ocala National Forest

The U.S Forest Service is battling a wildfire burning in the Ocala National Forest.

The wildfire is currently burning about four miles north of State Road 40 and southeast of Highway 314, per authorities. The fire is burning in quadrants 52 and 69 on this map. The overall wildfire is 67 acres in size.

Firefighters are currently using two helicopters, as well as an air tanker, which is dropping fire retardant, to help fight the wildfire. A 20-person crew is also heading to the scene to aid in the effort.

There is a burnout scheduled for Monday to help contain the wildfire. A burnout is a technique used to fight fires that “will reduce vegetation that could allow the wildfire to move quickly but will also increase the number of acres involved and generate some smoke,” according to a U.S. Forest Service press release.

Visitors to the forests are reminded to be aware of smoky conditions because of the fire. Drivers should move slowly and use headlights when driving through smoky areas. Sections of road close to the impacted area, including parts of Highway 314, will be closed to ensure visitor and firefighter safety.

Visitors are also reminded to be careful when lighting and maintaining campfires as the forest is extremely dry. Those who light fires should make sure the fire is completely out and the ground cold before leaving the area.

There is no threat to private property as of this point, however the U.S. Forest Service asks that residents who lives in vicinity of the forest remain vigilant for any updates on the situation.

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org