Eintime Conversion for education and research 06-18-2007 @ 04:58:10
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Raging wildfires force evacuations in Florida

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Florida firefighters worked Wednesday to extinguish several blazes that had consumed more than 1,500 acres in Volusia, Lake and Flagler counties, forcing the evacuations of several homes.

About 1,000 acres of brush and swampland were burning in Ormond Beach near the Flagler-Volusia county line. Officials expected it to get larger before being contained.

Several homes in the area were evacuated but there were no immediate reports of damages.

"The fire is not contained and continues to burn in an area that is very difficult to reach and operate," said Timber Weller, a spokesman for the Florida Division of Forestry. "We anticipate that the fire will increase in size, although not dramatically, because of the extremely dry woods in that area."

The blaze was first spotted Tuesday afternoon about four miles west of Interstate 95. The cause of the fire had not yet been determined.

More than 550 acres had burned in a separate blaze in northeast Lake County.

"Right now everything is burning within the containment lines," Lake County Fire Rescue Chief Jack Fillman said Wednesday. "We're not calling it 100% controlled because there's still a chance the wind could have it jump the lines again."

Fillman said no homes had been evacuated but some residents were told they should leave the area to avoid heavy smoke. He said the only damaged structure so far was a shed.

(Original Len: 2397 Condensed Len: 1962)

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