Firefighters monitor wildfire on State Road 54 at Gunn Highway in Pasco County

Posted at 11:09 AM, Apr 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 12:56:03-04

Starkey Wilderness Park and State Route 54 is back open on Monday morning after a brush fire forced evacuations there over the weekend. 

Pasco County officials said that the wildfire consumed approximately 40 acres of land, revised down from the initial estimate of 70 acres. The fire is now 90 percent contained with crews monitoring hot spots.

High winds are causing the flames to spread rapidly, making it a difficult fire to fight, Pasco County spokeswoman Tambrey Laine said in a news release.

Members of the Florida National Guard were called in on Sunday to join the Pasco County Fire Rescue and Florida Forest Service crews in the battle against the wildfire.

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County officials utilized the help of bulldozers to cut fire lines and National Guard Black Hawk helicopters carrying water barrels to dash water on the blaze. Crews had to bring in eight bulldozers, which is the most they have had at one scene in Pasco all season.

Pasco County officials are trying to get the word out to make sure people are aware of the burn ban that's been in effect since April 12. In that time, There's been more than 400 illegal fires that Crews had to respond to.

They want to make sure people understand they can be fined for illegal fires, there is also no relief in sight for the conditions that lead to brushfires.