Central Florida fires force some evacuations, authorities say

FLORIDA — A 500-acre brush fire Saturday afternoon in Lake County has shut down State Road 44 and Royal Trails near Cassia, Lake County Fire Rescue and Forestry said.

At one point, at least 20 homes were in danger, but as of 8 p.m., that was no longer the case, officials said.

Officials with the Lake County Fire Department said the fire began around 4 p.m. and that strong winds were making it difficult for them to fight the fire.

The fire is 15 percent contained.

Meanwhile in Volusia County, a brush fire has slowed traffic for hours on Interstate 4 near mile markers 111 and 112 in Deltona, said forestry officials.

The fire is near the westbound lanes of the interstate and one of those lanes is closed, troopers said. All eastbound lanes are currently open.

More than 350 acres have burned near the Deltona and Orange City border and that it's 50 percent contained, forestry officials said.

Troopers said smoke is blowing away from the interstate.

Veterans Memorial Parkway is closed in both directions due to a large brush fire at "Duck Lake," according to the Orange City Fire Department.

Voluntary evacuations were underway in Deltona, forestry officials said. They have since been able to return to their homes, officials said.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency earlier this week in Florida following the recent wildfires across the state and the high potential for increased wildfires to continue this year.

Dry conditions and wind gusts have fueled several wildfires in recent weeks.

This is a developing story. Check back on wftv.com for updates.