Florida Wildfire Threatens Homes, Closes Roads


A massive wildfire in Volusia and Brevard counties grew to more than 10,000 acres and was still burning, officials said Tuesday morning. It jumped both I-95 and US-1, shutting the major roads in two counties.

The fire burned a mobile home near Mims overnight. It's one of at least three structures that burned, including a large shed nearby and a cabin set deeper the woods.

Officials say Pinewood Elementary School in Mims will be closed Tuesday because of the fire. Additionally, school buses will not be running north of SR-46. All other schools will remain open.

I-95 remained shut down from SR-44 in New Smyrna Beach to SR-46 in Mims Tuesday morning; embers were flying onto the highway as the flames consumed trees right up to the road way. The fire also jumped US-1, forcing officials to close the road from the Kennedy Parkway to SR-46.

Drivers traveling southbound on I-95 will have to exit off onto SR 44 in New Smyrna Beach. Drivers traveling northbound on I-95 will have to exit off onto SR-46 in Mims.

Due to the growing brush fire in the Brevard County's north end, Brevard County Fire Rescue and Brevard County Emergency Management called for a voluntary evacuation of residents who live in the area bordered by County Road 5A on the north, SR-46 on the south, US-1 on the east, and the St. Johns River on the west.

A shelter was opened at the Cuyler Community Center, at 2329 Harry T. Moore Avenue in Mims.

A line of rain could offer some relief to firefighters Tuesday morning, though large amounts of rain are not expected.

An orange glow could be seen in the night sky as the massive wildfire moved east toward I-95 Monday night. Crews used helicopters to dump water on the fire, but still it grew. WFTV spotted flames, smoke, and ash moving across the interstate.

Then, the fire jumped Stuckway Road and approached the Scottsmoor community on Magoon Avenue and Vermont Street in Scottsmoor, where Harold Lacoste and his wife packed their car with pictures and family heirlooms.

"It didn't look like it was going to hit us all afternoon, then all of a sudden it flared back up," Lacoste said.

Lacoste said he has been a victim of wildfires in the past and he doesn't want to wait and risk being trapped.

"Just like back in '98. It's on you so fast you don't know what happened, you know," he said.

Deputies evacuated travelers from the Crystal Lake RV Park in Scottsmoor Monday afternoon. They will stay at a community center in Mims and won't be allowed to go back and get their travel homes.

"Now, we got the fire going on and a motor home sitting there, $180,000. So, you know, what are you going to do?" tourist Leo Patterson said.

The massive blaze was first reported around 10:00 Monday morning on Miami Corporation-owned land, north of SR-46 in Volusia County.

The Department of Forestry said the cause is not known. The state did not issue a burn permit for the area.

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