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New Fires Break Out in Florida

June 4, 2001

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Firefighters tried to suppress Florida’s worst blaze of the year Sunday, but 16 new fires sparked by lightning were chewing up hundreds of acres elsewhere in the state.

The Mallory Swamp fire in rain-parched north Florida was 70 percent contained after three weeks and nearly 61,000 scorched acres, but firefighters feared it would rekindle from needles and leaves blown onto embers and hot areas.

A nearby 1,300-acre fire at nearby Koon Lake was about 50 percent contained. Meanwhile, new fires sparked by lightning in the Florida Everglades and elsewhere ignited another 1,200 acres Saturday.

Nearly five hundred firefighters from several states worked to suppress the Mallory Swamp fire. Helicopters equipped with infrared technology located hot spots and dumped water on them. Officials also sent in bulldozers to cover smoldering embers or dispatched small engines to pour water on the fuel for the fire at the sites.

``It’s kind of like a smoldering cigarette _ it’ll just burn and burn and burn as long as there’s paper and tobacco there,″ said Michael Huffman, of North Carolina’s Division of Forest Resources.

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