Smoke drifted in the air this afternoon near mile marker 152 on Interstate 95. That's in the Fellsmere area. The brush fire spanning 25-acres turned the ground crunchy and charred plants and trees. At its closest, the flames crept about 15 feet from the interstate.
This is just one of four Fellsmere brush fires within a couple miles of each other. One is south of I95. The other three are north of it. They're between mile markers 152 and 155. All are 100% contained.
The Florida Forest Service blames the blazes on lightning strikes. Three sparked last night. One started the night before. The lightning has left almost 300 acres of smoldering land for firefighters to wrestle.
"Super hot and smoky," said Jess Bolduc, a Florida Forest Service firefighter. "Just trying to get everything taken care of so it doesn't impact I95."
This afternoon, Bolduc hosed the smoldering vegetation in the fire south of I95.
Florida Forest Service officials say the soil in Fellsmere is sandier and more elevated than in other parts of the Treasure Coast, which allows the water to drain off quicker.
"Which lets your ground vegetation start to dry out a lot faster than in low-lying areas," said Joe deBree, a Florida Forest Service area supervisor. That dryness increases the chance for the land to catch fire.
This is the wet season, but the service says Indian River County has had less rain than the other Treasure Coast counties.
"We thought we were going to catch a break with all the rain that we have received, but then dry lightning storms came through and kind of surprised everybody," said Bolduc.
This morning, law enforcement officials temporarily shut down the northbound lanes of I95, due to low visibility.
Firefighters say they'll stay on site, spraying the smoldering brush, until smoke and fog is no longer a threat to drivers.
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