Polk brush fire may be sign of things to come

Firefighters moved ahead on Monday in their battle against a wildfire that broke out last week. More than 50 percent of the 450 acres had been contained.

“The lower the wind, the better off we are,” said Todd Chlanda, spokesman for the Florida Forest Service.

Chlanda said it would take several more days for firefighters to mop up, by hitting hotspots to prevent additional flare-ups.

Fire experts say the Nalcrest fire could be a small foreshadowing of things to come this season. They say it could be just as bad as last year.

Last year was the worst season for wildfires in Florida in the last decade: 13,000 acres burned in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk Counties.  Of that, more than 7,000 acres were in Southeast Polk County.

Chlanda says, as a result of last year, people are taking the threat of fire much more seriously.

“We’re seeing more people calling us [reporting fires] and helping us out a bit more,” he added.