Fast-moving fire in Hudson proves to be a challenge

HUDSON, Fla. (WFLA) – Three hundred gallons. That’s how much water came cascading from a chopper, pinpointing drops on a wind-whipped fire in Hudson.

The aerial bombardment happened more than 30 times, with the chopper scooping up its payload from a nearby pond.

Besides helping douse flames, the pilot has another job.

“He has the best view of it, too. That’s the thing in these woods in Florida. It’s hard to get a good view of exactly what it’s doing so, when you got an eye in the sky, it’s really helpful,” said Mike Penn, with the Florida Forest Service.

Related: Pasco County now under burn ban due to ongoing wildfire risk

Flames reached the forest canopy. Smoke billowed into neighborhoods.

Flames destroyed a truck and a shed, as well as a boat and an 18-wheeler loaded with tires.

Nervous neighbors wet down their homes as a precaution. Some ventured out to take a closer look.

“Water is hitting you from the helicopter. Ash is hitting you, and it was very, very smoky,” said Susan Pratt-Leyden.

More than 30 firefighting rigs from Pasco County and the Florida Forest Service battled the fire.

Sirens took many by surprise.

“So, I came outside and that’s when I saw the big, black smoke coming and I automatically started flipping out, you know, looks pretty bad,” said Jessica Kinsel.

Firefighters caught a break and got the fire surrounded before it could leap New York Avenue and threaten homes.

But for a time, it was touch and go.

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