Wildfire scorches 20 acres of grass


Published: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 12:27 a.m.
A wildfire burned through a 20-acre field and threatened a farmer's home Thursday afternoon, according to Alachua County Fire and Rescue.
The fire began about 1 p.m. in a grassy patch near the farmer's home at 19001 NW County Road 239, a few miles north of the city of Alachua. Officials did not know the name of the farmer, said Mark Hughes, a spokesman for ACFR.
More than a dozen firefighters from four agencies responded to the call.
"We needed additional help from firefighters just to contain it because it was moving quickly and changing directions," Hughes said.
Hughes said firefighters didn't know how the fire started.
Firefighters were concerned about the flames moving toward the house and a nearby toolshed, he said.
The fire was one of six since the beginning of this year - a lower than average number for the month, said Gary Beecham, a supervisor with the Division of Forestry.
Unseasonably humid temperatures in early January decreased the usual number of wildfires, Beecham said.
State officials, however, issued an elevated wildfire threat Wednesday. They warned that an absence of rainfall, frigid temperatures, and leftover hurricane debris have increased the threat.
Alachua County now has a moderate fire risk, according to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index.
Statewide, 191 wildfires have burned 1,547 acres since Jan. 1.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services estimates that Florida averages about 5,000 wildfires each year.
Meredith Mandell can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or mandelm@gvillesun.com.

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