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FLORIDA WILDFIRES IGNITED BY DRYNESS FORCE SOME TO FLEE, THREATEN MORE EVACUATIONS

Firefighters on Saturday battled several wildfires sparked by extremely dry conditions around the state.

A 3,000-acre fire burned electricity transmission lines in Indian River County and forced the evacuation of a fishing camp before the blaze was contained.

"The freezes that we had early in the year and the long drought continue to intensify potential burning conditions," said Paul Palmiotto, assistant chief of the state Division of Forestry.

No injuries or damage was reported from any of the blazes, he said.

"The difficulty is the fuel," he said. "The swamps are dry, they're getting into the swamp areas, and the organic soils are burning."

A blaze west of Orlando burned more than 1,000 acres in a dry swamp near Polk City. Residents from six homes were evacuated Friday, and up to three dozen others were warned to be ready to leave their homes.

"It's a very volatile situation," said Tom Mason, Polk County assistant public safety director.

Three other fires burned north of Polk City, including a 3,400-acre fire on the Lake and Polk county lines.

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