Girl Scout camp structures destroyed by Seminole County brush fire will be rebuilt, group says

by: WFTV Web Staff Updated:

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The Florida Forest Service said a burn ban remains in effect in Seminole County where a 165-acre fire partially destroyed Camp Mah-Kah-Wee, a Girl Scout camp in Chuluota, and came dangerously close to homes Saturday, fire officials said.

"The mothers and daughters, are you know, they're heartbroken. The one thing we know for sure is we will rebuild," said MaryAnn Barry, CEO of Girl Scouts of Citrus Council.

More than 60 members of Camp Mah-Kah-Wee were evacuated.

Channel 9's Angela Jacobs got a look behind the fire lines and saw two bathhouses, a camp unit and a boathouse were destroyed at the camp from the fire. A pavilion, pontoon boat and a boat dock were also charred in the blaze. The rest of the west and east sides of the camp were saved by firefighters.

"They came here while it was burning and dug very big trenches with bulldozers around a cabin unit and a tent unit that are very utilized by girls," Barry said. "(The fire) quite literally burned right up to those trenches and those structures were saved, so we are very grateful."

The fire was reported around 3:30 p.m. Saturday off County Road 419 in Seminole County.

The Florida Forest Service said Sunday that the fire was 85 - 90 percent contained.

"(I) parked the car over here with my wife, my son, and I took the final pictures because I thought my house was going to be gone," said John Tyminski.

Photos: Brush fire in Chuluota

Tyminski was one of more than 40 residents of the Live Oak Reserve Subdivision who were ordered to evacuate their homes Saturday as the fire inched closer to homes, according to the Oviedo Fire Department. Residents have since been allowed to return to their homes.

"All I had time for was to get pictures, my daughter's baby pictures, our wedding pictures, two or three pieces of clothing, and we had to leave the house," homeowner Kammy Vasudeva said.

Raw: Brush fire destroys part of Girl Scout camp in Chuluota

The Seminole County Fire Department warned residents that smoke will be an issue and become more widespread as the winds shift.

Fire officials asked residents to not call 911 to report smoke.

"It was really surreal. It didn't hit me until I got to my friend's house that I might not have a home. It was very, very scary," said Vasudeva.

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Firefighters with the Seminole County Fire Department said they used reverse 911 to alert campers to evacuate the area.

The Chuluota VWF Post was temporarily established as the evacuation shelter, officials said.

Residents who thought they were going to lose everything said they are just grateful they didn't lose their homes thanks to the quick actions of firefighters.

"They're truly heroes. (I'm) so grateful for all of them and our community," Vasudeva said.

Dry weather conditions have made it favorable for brush fires to spark.

A burn ban is also in effect for Osceola and Polk counties. The ban means no bonfires, campfires or burning yard debris, officials said. Anyone who violates the burn ban can be punished by imprisonment or up to a $500 fine, officials said.

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The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Check back on wftv.com for updates.

Watch video of the brush fire below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than 60 members of Camp Mah-Kah-Wee were evacuated. The

More than 60 members of Camp Mah-Kah-Wee were evacuated. The

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