Firefighters continue to battle a blaze on Egmont Key that has burned almost 80 acres, according to the US Fish and Wildlife.
The blaze started early Tuesday, when a prescribed burn was already underway and a lightning strike started a second fire. As the day wore on the smoldering fire began to spread on the island that sits north of Anna Maria Island.
By late Tuesday night, 79 acres on the 328-acre island had burned ,and the fire was about 50 percent contained, according to fire management officer Greg Titus with U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
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Wednesday’s plan was for a burnout and for structure protection, Titus said. The fire is near the harbor pilots’ complex on the island, but no structures have been damaged.
The crew of 14 firefighters working to contain the fire Wednesday consisted of personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Forest Service and Florida Park Service.
A Florida Park Service helicopter and A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helicopter assisted in battling the wildfire on Tuesday doing bucket drops, but they were not being used on Wednesday morning.
“The two helicopters are available,” Titus said. “We will only bring them over if we need to. They are a very expensive resource to use.”
No injuries have been reported as a result of the fire.
“The wildlife and vegetation in Florida are adapted to frequent wildfires,” Titus said.
Egmont Key is a state park located on a small island at the mouth of Tampa Bay. The island can only be reached by boat or ferry. The park is closed right now due to the fire.
Flames were visible throughout the day Tuesday and plumes of smoke poured from the island. Firefighters were on scene throughout the night.
Firefighters said overnight showers missed the key so some flames and hot spots are still burning.
Department of Environmental Protection officials, the forest service and FWC officials will be on hand by mid-morning.
Bay News9 contributed to this report.