Brush Fires Challenge Florida Firefighters

Smoke from brush fires kept the Beachline and Grissom Parkway closed Wednesday night and were expected to make the next mornings commute very difficult in Brevard County.

Thick smoke temporarily closed I-95 Wednesday, and fire officials predicted drivers on the interstate could face it again Thursday, especially in a 21-mile stretch between State Road 50 and Fiske Boulevard. Similar conditions were expected on the Beachline, between State Road 520 and I-95.

SLIDESHOW: Heavy Smoke Causes Car Crashes, Road Closures Wednesday Morning

Since 5:30 Wednesday afternoon, weary firefighters struggled to keep the blaze away from highways and neighborhoods. Wednesday night, some crews took a stand against the fire on State Road 407 at the Beachline.

Helicopters helped by dumping baskets of water from the air, but that stopped at sunset. Crews then let the fire burn all the way to the roadside, in the hopes that it would consume the brush, and leave less to burn later.

Firefighters said they did not know when the Beachline would re-open.

3 miles to the northeast in Port Saint John, the fire crept within inches of at least 7 homes on Adele Street and forced evacuations.

Winds had firefighters constantly on the move, and a helicopter had to drop water on some homes to protect them. Eventually, firefighters put that portion of the blaze out.

Wednesdays fire in Port Saint John consumed 20 acres. Thats in addition to the 5,300 acres burned in the area since last week. Arson investigators believed someone started the fire, but they did not have any suspects.

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