Fla. Controlled Burn Becomes Massive Brush Fire


What started out as a controlled burn by a private corporate landowner, turned into a massive brush fire in Scottsmoor Tuesday, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue. Interstate 95 southbound re-opened around 7:30 Tuesday night, after it was shut down for a 13-mile stretch from SR-442 in south Volusia County to 5A in Brevard County.

Fire crews expect the blaze will impact operations for the next couple of days. Officials say they plan to bring in a mobile command center early Wednesday morning.

"DOF estimates the fire at 225 acres with the potential to reach 500 acres overnight. Winds are expected to calm overnight which will help in efforts to contain the fire," Brevard County Fire Rescue wrote in a release early Tuesday evening.

The Division of Forestry issued the burn authorization to the Miami Corporation Tuesday morning when wind wasn't an issue. The land owner owns what's called "Farmton," which is a a 59,000-acre tree farm, and the company was burning brush to clear way for a project.

Division of Forestry officials say when winds started picking up, crews working on the site tried to put out the flames by using sand, but it was too late. Embers were blown away and sparked the wildfire just north of Scottsmoor.

"Several times we've had lines, cut around it but unfortunately the winds in the area are so high that we haven't been able to keep the fire within the lines that we were cutting and its jumping," said Jeff Taylor of the Brevard County Fire Rescue.

The fire is approaching the Brevard/Volusia County line and both smoke and fire are affecting the roadway.

Officials say high winds at about 20 miles per hour, are fanning the flames and thwarting the efforts of ground crews working to get a handle on the blaze.

Crews from Brevard County Fire Rescue, Volusia County Fire Department and the Department of Forestry are on scene and actively working the fire.

There is no structural endangerment at this time and so far there is no danger to homes.

Officials say it may not be the land owner's responsibility because they were issued the permit.

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