Man killed in brush fire 02-25-2011

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Authorized burn gets out of control

Marion County Fire Rescue firefighters responded to an outside fire at 12025 Northwest Highway 326 Tuesday afternoon. When emergency crews from four stations arrived on scene at 12:47 p.m., they found an area approximately three to five acres engulfed in heavy flames and smoke. While MCFR firefighters worked to quickly extinguish the fire, crews identified a deceased victim in the burn area at 12:59 p.m. The victim was 66-year-old Warren Wimberly. 

Earlier in the morning, the Division of Forestry authorized the victim to start a prescribed agricultural burn on two acres of his property; most likely due to high winds, the burn got out of control.

In a joint effort to determine the victim’s cause of death, MCFR, Florida State Fire Marshall’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Marion County Medical Examiner are working together on this incident. For information about the identity of the victim, please contact MCSO’s Public Information Officer. 

Marion County has been under a voluntary burn ban since Dec. 22, 2010. Firefighters strongly urge citizens to not burn and to follow these safety tips:

-     Voluntarily delay any outside burning until Marion County receives significant rainfall over an extended period of time.

-     Take yard debris to Marion County’s landfill or recycling centers, a safer alternative to backyard burning. Citizens should call 352-671-8465 for more information.

-     Immediately report arson or other suspicious activity to law enforcement.

-     Use vehicle ashtrays instead of throwing cigarette butts out the window.

-     Use caution when mowing or working with other equipment that could spark.