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Fire threatens rural FL homes

Homes in the rural community of Taylor, population 300, were being threatened by a 30,000-acre wildfire.

BY SUSAN KIM | TAYLOR, Fla. | March 10, 2013

Homes in the rural community of Taylor, population 300, were being threatened Wednesday as a 30,000-acre wildfire continued to burn out of control in northeastern Florida.

Thirty-five homes were evacuated Tuesday and The Lord's Church, a nondenominational church, was opened as a shelter where local volunteers were helping The American Red Cross meet people's needs, said Jim Karles, spokesperson for the Florida Division of Forestry.

Containment was less than 20 percent Wednesday, said Karles.

"Containment was marginal and we have nasty weather ahead," said Karles.

The fire was a prescribed burn originally planned to be 1,100 acres that got out of control. When weather forecasters predicted hazardous weather, officials tried to stop the fire but were unable to contain it.

Taylor is some 40 miles west of Jacksonville, and just north of MacClenny, Fla.

The blaze was fueled by timber in national and state forests. It began on U.S. Forest Service land in the Osceola National Forest then raced out of control north of Interstate 10.

The wind was blowing the fire to the southeast. Crews were fighting the blaze with water-carrying helicopters and an airplane, as well as ground equipment.

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