Smoke again closes State Road 44 in Lake County, grounds school buses

Students absences will be excused

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager
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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Officials on Friday closed State Road 44 in Lake County because of smoke from a brush fire, preventing buses from taking students to school.

For the fifth straight day, Florida Highway Patrol troopers closed S.R. 44 in both directions around 5:15 a.m. Friday from Royal Trails to County Road 44-A. The road reopened around 9:30 a.m.

The closure stemmed from a large brush fire that broke out Saturday and has grown to more than 780 acres. The blaze is 60 percent contained.

Absences will be excused and tests rescheduled for those who cannot get to get school, Lake County Schools said.

The closure affected students at Umatilla Elementary School, Umatilla Middle School and Umatilla High School, along with Eustis High School, Eustis Middle School and Seminole Springs Elementary School.

Lake and several other Central Florida counties remain under a burn ban as rain deficits continue to climb across the region.

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