Brush fire continues to close school bus routes in Lake County

Students will be excused of absences, officials say

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Smoke from a brush fire early Wednesday again shut down a stretch of State Road 44 near Eustis.

Troopers closed the road between Royal Trails and County Road 44-A. It reopened just before 9 a.m. 

The problem stems from a large brush fire that broke out Saturday. It has grown to more than 780 acres and is 60 percent contained.

The closure forced school officials to close bus routes for several schools every day this week. The Lake County school district tweeted earlier Wednesday that buses would be operating, but the road closure forced officials to change their plans.

"FHP is closing S.R. 44 due to low visibility at Royal Trails and 44-A," the Florida Highway Patrol tweeted. "Buses won't be able to get through for later pickup."

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.

The absences of students who were unable to get to school because of the lack of bus transportation will be excused, officials said.

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

Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates on this developing story. 

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