Brush fires break out in Ocala National Forest

Firefighters from multiple agencies battled two large brush fires in the Ocala National Forest, one of which briefly posed a possible threat to a residential area near the federal land.   

At approximately 2 p.m., the U.S. Forest Service, the Florida Forest Service, and officials from Marion County Fire Rescuse and the Marion County Sheriff's Office responded to an approximately 505-acre fire north of Ocklawaha.

"The winds have been shifting, so that's been a challenge for us," explained David Quisenberry, with the  U.S. Forest Service. "We're about 16 days or so from our last significant rain...hopefully some rain will come in and help us out."

Agencies conducted precautionary evacuations of 50 homes in a community on Lake Bryant [GMap].  Five helicopters made water bucket drops while a fixed-wing tanker assisted. 

Residents were permitted back into their homes late Wednesday.  Fire spotters remain on scene to monitor any flare-ups.