PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Florida Forest Service and neighboring agencies are battling a 500-acre brush fire in Punta Gorda. It's burning near Bermont Road, about 4 miles east of S.R. 31.
The call came in around 2:15 p.m Wednesday. Between the high wind and low humidity, it was no easy battle for fire crews. By the evening, they had the fire 95% contained.
Flames could be seen 10 feet in the air, disintegrating large trees and even burning through power poles. Patrick Mahoney with the Florida Forest Service called the weather conditions "the perfect storm."
"With the wind blowing as hard as it was, the humidity being low, and the fact we are so dry," Mahoney said, "Myakka River District is the driest in the state and with the combination of everything, it just made for a really bad day for fire."
He said fences, cattle and single lane roads added to the difficulty. Despite bringing in several tractors, brush trucks, even a helicopter from Okeechobee to tackle the hot spots, two mobile homes were destroyed. "You could tell by the frame twisting just how hot the fire got around those area," Mahoney said.
While Melaleuca trees fueled the fire, orange trees, which Mahoney said don't burn, were able to block flames on the east side.
Some residents were left without power because the fire reached the power poles. FPL was on scene working to repair the damage.
Crews will monitor the flames overnight. Thursday, they'll investigate what exactly caused the fire.
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