An ‘unattended campfire’ responsible for 1,600 acre wildfire
FELLSMERE, Fla .– The Florida Fire Department said a preliminary investigation determined Friday’s 1,600-acre blaze was caused by a campfire left unattended in the park by someone Thursday night.
Florida Forest Service mitigation specialist and public information officer Miguel Nevarez said the result should serve as a reminder for the public to be aware of current weather conditions. “It was so dry. We had very little to no rain and anything as simple as an unattended campfire can start this big forest fire, ”he said.
Florida Fire Service Provides Update on Fellsmere Fire
Florida Forest Service mitigation specialist Miguel Nevarez provides an update on the 1,600-acre fire in Fellsmere.
On Saturday, the Florida Forest Service and Indian River County Fire Rescue Service began reworking to 100% contain the 1,600-acre tree frog wildfire when the sun rose in the park. ‘State of St. The fire is still only 40% contained. But officials say overnight the 1,600 acres were surveyed.
“Overnight there was a full survey of the area to make sure there were no spots during the night – and today the main problem is high winds,” Nevarez said. . “Once we’ve got it under control, the next phase is to mop up the fire – spray water on any hot areas that continue to burn to put out the fire.”
Meanwhile, Florida Light and Power shut down the power lines because crews could work safely. In addition, the lines on the ground to contain the fire have also been increased.
“It can be days, it all depends on how the weather plays out,” Nevarez. “It’s been very windy and those winds are going to be a big problem today and the remaining days as we get this fire under control.”
The large, fast-growing wildfire was fueled by dry and windy conditions and closed part of Interstate 95 near the Indian River-Brevard County line for 10 hours on Friday.
Also on Friday, the fire closed the south and northbound lanes of I-95, north of County Road 512 and south of Malabar Road, due to smoke, and a voluntary evacuation order was issued. in place for the greater Fellsmere area from 97th Street to 109th Street, as well as everything east of Willow Street.
The order was lifted on Friday evening and the highway reopened shortly before 10 p.m.
“We had no idea they were even talking about voluntary evacuations. It’s just the way things are going here,” said resident Michael Hamons.
The Florida Forest Service said the Tree Frog Wildfire covered approximately 1,600 acres and was burning in St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park.
Firefighters said the blaze was 40% under control by 6:30 p.m.
Smoke from a wildfire blocked the northbound and southbound lanes of I-95 in Indian River County. Northbound traffic is diverted from the 156 Mile Post exit at CR-512 and southbound traffic is diverted from the 166 Mile Post exit at St. John’s Heritage Pkw. pic.twitter.com/gbUNWGXGK2
– FHP West Palm Beach (@FHPPalmBeach) May 21, 2021
Police said firefighters were still putting out hot spots and there were small pockets of fire burning east of I-95 near mile 157.
“Due to the little rain that we have had in recent weeks and because of the increase in temperature, and now with the increase in winds that we have today, it makes this fire very difficult to contain,” Miguel Nevarez, with the Florida Forest Service, said.
Nevarez said the strong winds picked up the embers of the fire, blew them out and caused them to start new fires elsewhere.
“We are concerned that this will continue to spread if these winds do not die out,” Nevarez said.
Teams from the Florida Forest Service and Indian River County Fire Rescue Service fought the blazes using brush trucks, bulldozers and water drop helicopters. Still no reports of damage to buildings or other structures, and no one was injured.
WPTV First Alert meteorologist James Wieland expected the fire to develop quickly on Friday due to the dry and windy conditions.
“It can really get out of hand very, very quickly with the amount of wind and drought,” Wieland said. “Our humidity is really low. The wind is very high, and that means the fire is going to grow quickly.”