CLERMONT -- Motorists in South Lake County can expect road closures on State Road 50 and South County Road 561 as suppression efforts will be conducted to control a 200-acre brushfire that is not threatening any structures.
Units responded to the wildfire at about 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, near a marshy area of Lake Palatakaha. During suppression efforts today, the controlled burn will increase the fire operation to 800-1,000 acres. The geographical borders of the area in the question are:
• North – State Road 50
• East – South County Road 561
• West – Max Hooks Road
• South – South County Road 561 bridge at Lake Palatakaha
As a result of the suppression efforts, motorists can expect these road closures during most of the day and into the night:
• State Road 50 (intermittingly) from 12th Street to Max Hooks Road
• South County Road 561 from West Minnehaha Avenue to four miles south, near the intersection of Pine Island Road/Log House Road.
Detour signs will be placed at each end of the road closures. Eastbound traffic on State Road 50 can avoid the road closure by traveling north on 12th Street, which turns into County Road 565A, and will reconnect with State Road 50 east of Max Hooks Road. Westbound traffic on State Road 50 will be directed along the same route. Traffic on County Road 561 can use Pine Island Road and Log House Road as alternative routes.
Agencies participating in the response include Lake County Department of Public Safety, Fire Rescue Division, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Division of Forestry, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol, City of Clermont fire and police departments, and the City of Groveland fire and police departments.
The suppression efforts will create smoke. Smoke is a respiratory irritant, and can cause scratchy throat, irritated eyes, nose and worsen conditions such as asthma and other chronic respiratory or lung conditions. Residents in the area are encouraged to pay attention to local air quality reports and stay alert to any news coverage or health warnings related to smoke. Use common sense. If it is smoky outside avoid prolonged outdoor activities.
It is especially important to limit time spent outdoors for children and persons with existing medical conditions. Stay indoors and run your air-conditioner if you have one. For best results in vehicles, run the air conditioning with re-circulated air or maximum air-conditioning setting. If you don't have an air-conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter. Follow your doctor’s advice about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan if you have asthma or other lung disease. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.