Firefighters Gain On Florida Wildfires, Road

All major roads were open and the fires that closed the Turnpike and Krome Avenue on Sunday were 75 percent contained Monday afternoon.


All major roads were open and the fires that closed the Turnpike and Krome Avenue on Sunday were 75 percent contained Monday afternoon.

Although the fires had charred more than 9,000 acres, mostly grass and brush, they were not threatening homes or businesses.

''We have 75% of the fires contained, and the weather conditions -- low winds and high humidity -- make it a perfect time to put out fires,'' said Bob Rehr, a Florida Division of Forestry spokesman.

As thunderstorms developed to the west of the Everglades, winds pushed the thick smoke eastward over the metro area again, as happened on Sunday.

The National Weather Service issued a dense smoke advisory for the area between the Dolphin Expressway to the Northwest 41st Street exit in Doral at 1 p.m. Monday.

''Smoke has come into the building,'' said Rosa Martelly, a human resources representative at MD International, located on Northwest 41st Street, just blocks from Florida's Turnpike. ``It's very hard to breathe. The smell is sticking to our clothes.''

Martelly said most employees chose to take their lunch break in the office, rather than venturing outdoors.

By 4 p.m., though, the smoke had dissipated.

''The light rainfall may have helped the situation temporarily,'' said Dan Gregoria, a local forecaster for the National Weather Service. ``If we were going to be having problems, it would have been now, but the wind should start coming from the east.''

The gray, smoke-filled skies had kept many Doral residents holed up in their homes for the past few days.

Claudia Bailly said the fires ruined her weekend plans to take her two children to the park and pool. Instead, the Bailly family stayed inside their Doral home.

Late Monday, as the persistent smoke continued to linger in the area, Bailly would not allow her son to play in their backyard.

''You don't want to do anything to endanger the welfare of your children,'' Bailly said. ``I would rather be overcautious than be sorry later.''

Rehr predicted that the fire will be put out in three or four days.

''We have 15 units on the area between Northwest 41st St past 58th Street, and bulldozers and tractors on the hot spots,'' said Rehr.

''It is a hit or miss kind of thing,'' said Barry Baxter, local forecaster for the National Weather Service. ``We should be seeing more moisture from now until Wednesday and Thursday, which should help out the firefighters.''