Alafia blaze under control, but phosphate pits challenge firefighters
TBO.com Published: November 9, 2009 Firefighters have contained a brush fire
in the Alafia River area, even though they were stymied by the reclaimed phosphate
mine landscape of steep hills
and deep gullies.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue
and Florida Division of Forestry
firefighters remain on the scene this morning. On Sunday, the fire torched more than 500 acres of difficult-to-access terrain in the Alafia River State Park.
"There were two separate fires about a half-mile apart, all in the state park area," Fire Rescue spokesman Ray Yeakley said this morning. "It is 100 percent contained right now, though there will still be some smoldering."
Efforts were hampered by the deep phosphate
pits left by a mine that operated in the area years ago.
"The reclaimed land
has unique topography that offers some of the most radical elevation changes
in Florida," said a fire rescue news
release issued Sunday night.
No structures were in danger and overnight campers
were not in harm's way, Yeakley said. No one was injured.Rainy weather
approaching the Tampa Bay area, expected today and Tuesday, will help douse the hot spots, he said.