POLK CITY, Fla. (AP) -- Firefighters trying to contain a central Florida brush fire are hoping for heavy rain, saying that without it, the 11,000-acre blaze could burn for days.
"It's just a mess. It's scary," Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday. "We're in for a bad season."
Florida is coming off its driest year in over a century, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration records, and continuing drought conditions across much of the state have been blamed for the spread of wildfires. Since Jan. 1, more than 83,000 acres have burned.
The Polk County blaze, which started as an out-of-control trash fire, is the state's largest this year.
The structural damage has been limited to mobile homes warped by the heat and a barn and two sheds that burned, but heavy smoke also forced the shutdown of a section of central Florida's main east-west artery, Interstate 4, which connects Orlando and Tampa.
Crews spent Tuesday clearing burned trees from the intestate near Polk City while ranchers mended fences and tried to round up cattle, said Wayne Jones, incident commander with the Division of Forestry. Officials said a 10-mile stretch of the interstate could remain closed through the weekend.
Firefighters, meanwhile, said that with the fire in swamp land, the best they could hope for is to contain it.
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