Brush fire 50% contained, U.S. 19 still closed in Pasco County

7:07 AM, May 1, 2012   |    comments
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HUDSON, Fla. -- UPDATE: The Florida Forest Service says the fire is now 50% contained.

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A brush fire has forced the evacuation of at least 150 people in the Hudson-Holiday area, the sheriff's office says.

The Division of Forestry and Pasco County Fire have units on scene trying to contain the blaze, which has consumed an estimated 100 acres and is sending heavy smoke into the skies.

The sheriff's office says U.S. Highway 19 has been closed in both directions between New York Avenue and Hudson Avenue. It is not know at this time if the road will reopen in time for the morning commute. Drivers are being urged to plan an alternate route.

Residents living within a mile radius of the Club Wildwood Mobile Home Park are being asked to leave their homes if they see fire or feel heat. Those in need of accommodations are being sent to St. Marks Presbyterian Church at 7922 State Road 52 in Port Richey.

The Florida Highway Patrol issued a warning to motorists to beware of heavy smoke conditions along U.S. 19, and to drive with caution in the area.

Fire officials expect to remain on scene throughout the night and say they might be battling the fire for several days. They say it could possibly burn from U.S. 19 all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Division of Forestry, Pasco Sheriff, Pasco Fire