Homes Saved From Wildfire By Florida's Bravest

The flames from a massive brush fire in Brevard County died down somewhat overnight. Already, more than 850 acres were blackened in an area from Canaveral Groves, where the fire started, to Port St. John and Sharpes.

SLIDESHOW:

Crews reopened I-95 in both directions overnight. Now a smoke haze is lingering over much of the area. Overnight, firefighters specifically targeted some large flare-ups that threatened to force the road to be shut down again.

Just a few hours after I-95 finally reopened, a flare-up threatened to shut it down again. Firefighter Rob Hammond could only shake his head as his long night had just gotten longer.

"We'll just take it hour by hour [and] see what happens," he said.

The Brevard County wildfire began burning late Thursday afternoon. Depending on the weather and the intensity of the flames Friday, some areas could burn or smolder for days.

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Firefighters worked through the night to save homes at the Veronica Estates, where homeowners like Mary Dowty worked through the night to take care of the firefighters.

"Just thankful they're here, very thankful that they're here," she said.

They've been working together all night in central Brevard County with the stubborn fire made complicated by ever-changing winds.

It all started in the Fay Wilderness Area just after 4:00pm Thursday and quickly grew from seven acres to more than 800, jumping across and shutting down I-95 and threatening neighborhood after neighborhood, where residents did what they could to get ready for the worst.

At the Veronica Estates, firefighters hosed down the roofs of houses to protect them from burning embers. By 3:00am Friday, they declared victory that no houses had burned.

"When we get winds like this, when it's so dry, just a few embers can get a whole other brush fire going," said Lt. Steve McNerney, Brevard County Fire-Rescue.

The fire has nearly doubled the number of acres burned in Brevard County since the beginning of the year. State forestry workers told Channel 9 that before the 850-acre fire, more than 1,500 acres had burned in Brevard County in 31 separate fires.

Osceola County was second with nearly 1,100 acres burned. Fire has consumed 401 acres in Orange County, 102 in Volusia and just five acres in Seminole County.

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