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Brush fires burn in east Orange County

Drivers urged to use caution on several roadways

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Crews continue to fight two large fires, one in Bithlo and the other near Avalon Park, Thursday, according to fire officials.

A fire was reported around 3 p.m. Wednesday on Fort Christmas Road and was 80 percent contained Wednesday night.

Officials Thursday morning closed a section of Fort Christmas Road between Wheeler and Phillips roads, because of limited visibility. A section of Northwest Christmas Road has also been shut down.

No evacuations have been ordered.

"Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as the last three days when we had 20 mile an hour and higher wind gusts," said Sean Gallagher, of Florida Forest Service.

Florida Forest Service officials said they are also fighting a fire in the Hal Scott Preserve just south of Christmas near Avalon Park. The fire was 95 percent contained late Wednesday night, the Forest Service said.

Six Forest Service crews were on scene and Orange County Fire crews responded as well.

Officials said the fire off Fort Christmas had been burning for four days and was contained, but something caused it to flare up again.

The Florida Forestry Service issued a warning for roadways in east Orange County early Thursday.  Drivers were urged to use caution on State Road 50 near Avalon Park Boulevard, State Road 50 near State Road 520 and along Fort Christmas Road.

In Southwest Florida, a brush fire in Collier County grew Wednesday to 7,500 acres, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported.

Alligator Alley remains closed from Exit 105 to mile marker 80 as the fire continues to burn close to the highway. Collier Boulevard reopened Wednesday morning.

See a list of detour routes for drivers on Interstate 75 here.


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