Florida

Man burning books caused 700-acre Florida brush fire, officials say

A Florida man burning books in his yard caused a 700-acre brush fire which destroyed two buildings, damaged six homes and nearly 20 sheds and barns, officials said Thursday.

A Florida man burning books in his yard caused a 700-acre brush fire which destroyed two buildings, damaged six homes and nearly 20 sheds and barns, officials said Thursday.  (Florida Forest Service)

A Florida man burning books in his yard caused a 700-acre brush fire which destroyed two buildings, damaged six homes and nearly 20 sheds and barns, officials said Thursday.

Florida Forest Service officials let residents return to their homes after good weather helped firefighters combat the flames. At least 150 residents were forced to leave their homes, Fox 13 News reported.

“Things are looking really good as far as weather, so this is giving our firefighters a big opportunity to make some excellent progress today,” Forestry service spokeswoman Annaleasa Winter said. “The fire has not spread.”

Winter added that the fire was about 65 percent contained and that she anticipated it to be around 75 percent contained come Friday morning, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Officials said the blaze started Wednesday at around 2 p.m. and they initially thought they had contained the flames to about five acres, but gusty winds helped the blaze spread forcing the evacuation of nearby residents.

The man did not have a permit for his book burning and will be billed for the firefighting effort, officials said.

Winter said the man did not intentionally cause the inferno and he was acting very remorseful.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.