Florida Wildfires Cause Evacuations

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- A brush fire filled the western Palm Beach County sky with smoke and embers Monday and a number of residents were asked to temporarily leave their homes, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue officials said.

Firefighters had the fire contained late Monday but several homes in the La Mancha subdivision remained threatened. Officials said 22 units from the fire department and five units from the Division of Forestry would remain on the scene through the night to put out hotspots.

A thick plume of smoke from the blaze could be seen more than 15 miles away, backing up evening rush- hour traffic on Okeechobee Boulevard.

The flames crept to within 100 feet of some homes but none suffered significant damage. Residents of one street were asked to evacuate, but most stayed, with some taking to their roofs and backyards with garden hoses to fend off embers flying through the air, The Palm Beach Post reported.

The blaze was first reported as a two-acre fire in the Pond Cypress Natural Area but it quickly grew to cover about 75 acres, Palm Beach County fire officials said.