Sterling Creek fire still a concern

The+Sterling+Creek+fire+burns+through+vegetation+close+to+Live+Oak+Reserve.+The+blaze+was+contained+at+2+a.m.++the+next+morning.
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Sterling Creek fire still a concern

The Sterling Creek fire burns through vegetation close to Live Oak Reserve. The blaze was contained at 2 a.m.  the next morning.

The Sterling Creek fire burns through vegetation close to Live Oak Reserve. The blaze was contained at 2 a.m. the next morning.

photo by Tanner Lehmann

The Sterling Creek fire burns through vegetation close to Live Oak Reserve. The blaze was contained at 2 a.m. the next morning.

photo by Tanner Lehmann

photo by Tanner Lehmann

The Sterling Creek fire burns through vegetation close to Live Oak Reserve. The blaze was contained at 2 a.m. the next morning.

Bryson Turner, Opinions Editor

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With no rainfall in the past week, the brush fire that originated off Live Oak Reserve Boulevard near Sterling Creek Parkway still has the potential to flare up again. Despite the immediate threat being neutralized, the smell of smoke is still distinguishable in the Oviedo area and firefighters still go out six to eight times a day to check for hot spots.

The blaze, reported to authorities at 2:49 p.m. on April 8, burned 165 acres of forest, including six cabins and other structures of Camp Mah-Kah-Wee, a Girl Scout camp in the area. About 40 people were forced to evacuate from the camp, having only minutes before the fire reached the area, moving at a speed of 40-50 acres per hour.

“It was moving so fast, they did not have time to pack up the cabins and get out,” Fire Chief Lars White said. “All they could do was get in their cars and leave.”

“It was moving so fast, they did not have time to pack up the cabins and get out,” Fire Chief Lars White said. “All they could do was get in their cars and leave.”

Around that time, fire engines from Kissimmee, Orlando, Winter Park and other areas began making their way toward the burn area to assist, implementing the Florida Fire Chiefs Emergency Response Plan.

While they were en route, the east coast sea breeze caused the fire to cease moving Southeast, pull an about-face and begin traveling northwest, putting Live Oak Reserve in the line of fire.

Sophomore Savannah Hobbs took to Twitter with a photo of the blaze burning dangerously close to her home.

Roughly 200 homes were evacuated in the southernmost portion of the residential community.

Some of the 75-100 firefighters from across the state who were at the scene patrolled the streets for tiny spot fires in grass, gutters and other landscaping fixtures caused by embers. No homes caught fire, though many smoke were set off, and minor damage was sustained by back porch screens and landscaping, including the homes of Hobbs and junior Katelyn Fee.

In the meantime, three helicopters dumped water in an attempt to neutralize the main blaze. No one, firefighters or civilians, was injured.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

The blaze was contained when the vast majority of the fire had plow lines dug around it at around 2 a.m. the next morning, but the burn area is still being extensively monitored.

“As far as containment, we don’t think [the fire is] going to leave this area,” White said.

A burn ban has been in place in Seminole County since the end of March.

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