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Firefighters Gain Ground

May 17th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

11 days and 120 thousand charred acres later, the giant Bugaboo fire in North Florida is 65% contained tonight. Mike Vasilinda went into the site today and tells us firefighters are taking a crucial step to get the blaze under control.

Hear it here: Bugaboo update

Deep in an inaccessible bay to the right of this road, the Bugaboo fire is burning out of control. The response from firefighters: a controlled burn designed to rob the flames of any more fuel.
At the same time, air tankers are waging a relentless battle to keep the other side of the road from burning. Steve Ripley of the state Forest Service says success here is crucial.

“So we’re actually doing a prescribed burn around this bay, so that as it throws chunks of flaming material into the air, it can’t get away from us.” says Ripley.

Tanker after tanker worked to dampen the unburned area and keep it from igniting.
While most of this ground vegetation is all burnt, firefighters are worried about all these trees that are still standing. They’re worried that they’ll provide fuel is the fire jumps the line.

At a morning briefing, a few raindrops fell… but firefighters had much bigger hopes. Bugaboo has also earned a dubious distinction, says Jim Caldwell of the Forestry Service.  “We have dropped more water, water retardant in Florida than ever before. This will continue because it is helping a great deal.”

After burning 11 days, firefighters say it will take at least another 11 days if not longer to mop up the scene. 730 homes are under evacuation orders near the Bugaboo wildfire and more evacuations are possible… but so far no homes have been lost to the huge wildfire.

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