Wild fire spreads at Merritt Island refuge site

 
16 May 2017

published by http://www.floridatoday.com


USA -   Authorities say a brush fire at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has charred more than 350 acres as of Tuesday morning.

The latest wildfire started small, growing from a half acre by 2:30 p.m. to 50 acres by 4 p.m. Monday at the federal wild land site. Motorists are asked to monitor traffic conditions since roadways and visibility could be affected by the smoke.

The Merritt Island fire is the latest in a series of brush fires to turn up in Brevard as the county heads into another week with hot, dry, rainless conditions.

Monday, Brevard County Fire Rescue crews continued to monitor a 25-acre brush fire Sunday that burned through a heavily-wooded portion of the Carriage Gate subdivision in West Melbourne. The West Melbourne blaze – with its thick plumes of smoke rising into the skies above the residential area is located a short distance from Interstate 95.

“That fire is 100 percent contained, essentially at this point we’re just mopping up,” said Sean Gallagher of the Florida Division of Forestry. “We can also expect some possible smoke, visibility or fog issues. Florida Highway Patrol troopers will be monitoring conditions along Interstate 95,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher said the fire danger remains very high.

“Even with the little bit of rain we’ve had, I would say that we’re still in the very high fire danger category,” he said.

The Sunday fire in West Melbourne was one of several that broke out in the southwestern part of Palm Bay and in West Melbourne. No homes were damaged, although the fire burned close to a nearby private school off Minton Road.

The dry weather is expected to linger in Brevard through Thursday, when a slight chance of rain – with about 20 percent coverage for the Space Coast – is expected. The temperatures will remain in the mid-80s for that period, weather officials report.