PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Crews battling the fire at the Brooker Wildlife Preserve in Tarpon Springs appeared to have made progress in putting out the flames, according to Florida Forest Service officials.

  • No injuries reported
  • Fire 70 percent contained
  • Fire started Monday afternoon in a dense, swamp area 
  • No structures are impacted 
  • The Preserve is CLOSED Tuesday

The fire, which scorched 20 acres, is 70 percent contained, according to officials. It started Monday night and continued to burn through most of Tuesday.

The location — mostly dense and swampy — made it difficult for crews to reach the fire.

"We’re having some problems with this fire right now," Said Todd Chlanda with the Florida Forest Service. "It’s burning in a wet area, kind of a swampy area and it has a lot of large trees and it’s very dense so we’re having problems getting our equipment back to it and getting a line around it." 

Bulldozers had to be brought in to clear away some of the brush so that crews could gain access to the affected area.

Heavy equipment operators also created fire lines to prevent the fire from spreading.

“Basically it would just cross the trail and set fire to the other side," said John Dewolfe, forest area supervisor with the Florida Forest Service. “So by creating a line with the bulldozer, it keep the fire in that size of the line.”

Some of the smoke began dissipating late Tuesday morning as crews awaited the arrival of all that heavy equipment.

On Tuesday morning, smoke was still lingering in the Palm Harbor, Oldsmar, East Lake and Westchase areas. 

It remains unclear how the fire started.