Homes destroyed, properties damaged about 5,000-acre brush fire

FROSTPROOF, Fla. - UPDATE | Brush fires are still causing some concern in Polk County on Monday morning, six days after some areas had to be evacuated.

Fire Rescue and Florida Fire Services are reporting the fires are now 80% contained

Indian Lake Estates, which is located off of State Road 60, is now in the clear but that wasn't the case last week. The area was evacuated Wednesday, and on Friday dense fog combined with smoke forced major roads to close.

The smoke has since dissipated and conditions continue to improve.

The brush fires scorched at least 5500 acres and destroyed 12 homes as crews spent the weekend plowing containment lines.  Fire officials were spotted early Monday morning entering Indian Lake Estates with more work still needed to be completed.

Lonnie Diamond who lives at Indian Lake told us he never felt like his home was in danger, and thinks that has a lot to do with the quality of work put in by crews.

“I think they did a pretty good job, if those fires on State Road 60 would have come back in this way we would’ve lost a lot of houses,” Diamond said.

ORIGINAL STORY | Polk County firefighters are hard at work Friday morning; knocking down a major brush fire that re-kindled on Thursday.

People living in the River Ranch Hunting Club community were forced out of their homes and a dense smoke advisory was in effect Friday morning as smoke blanketed the southeastern portion of Polk County.

The fire was rekindled on Thursday evening including one just north of State Road 60 and two fires rekindled south of SR 60.

"Thankfully we've got all the help that the state can give us," said Indian Lake resident Mike Allen.

Allen told ABC Action News he is trying to remain positive. Allen is one of many living in the Polk County communities of Indian Lake Estates and River Ranch forced from their homes this week.

"It's not good. You know people that are involved. We know some people that managed to save their house, but it's a scary thing," said Allen.

So far, about 5,000 acres have been destroyed. Those who live in River Ranch were told by firefighters that they won't be allowed back in until at least Monday.

The brush fire also caused issues during Friday morning's commute.

Parts of SR 60 and County Road 630 were completely shut down on Friday morning due to low visibility.

For Allen, his thoughts are with those directly in harms way.

"You really don't want to see your neighbors lose anything for sure you don't want to see anybody hurt," said Allen.

Polk county firefighters will continue to monitor the fire throughout the next few days to survey the area. 

More than a dozen personnel from Polk County Fire Rescue and the Florida Forest Service are working around the clock responding to hotspots and potential flare-ups. 

Dense fog is expected to occur Saturday morning. Motorists who plan to travel on SR 60 between CR 630 and SR 441 (Yeehaw Junction) or along CR 630 to Walk in Water Road should be prepared to travel a different route. 

 

MORE DETAILS:

Nine mobile homes and two single family homes were destroyed in the nearly 3,000 acres brush fire that swept through the Indian Lake Estates Wednesday, according the preliminary reports from assessment crews.

RELATED: Crews contain large brush fire in Polk County, evacuees return home, roads reopened

Crews from Polk County Emergency Management and the American Red Cross are currently conducting assessments of the areas around County Road 630, State Road 60 and within the Indian Lake Estates Community.

RELATED: Volunteers help battle large Polk Co. brush fire

Polk County Fire Rescue and Florida Forest Service have crews on standby should the fire intensify or break out of its boundaries.

There was property damage along CR 630 and SR 60.

RELATED: PHOTOS | 800 homes evacuated by Polk brush fire

The Florida Forest Service remains on scene and is focusing around SR 60 and CR 630. They are also providing aerial support. There are emergency vehicles and smoky conditions in the area, so motorists are asked to drive carefully.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is assisting by scouting the River Ranch Hunt Club.

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