On one side of Indiantown’s Farm Road, you’ll find healthy looking citrus trees. Across the street is a scorched landscape.
Firefighters had their hands full, trying to tackle a stubborn brush fire that kicked up Friday afternoon, burning nearly two-and-a-half acres. They say it was fueled, in part, by Mother Nature.
"With the cold weather, it dries everything out, and the vegetation is very brittle, and then with the wind on top of that, a little fire can rapidly turn into a multiple acres. And that's almost what we had today,” said Martin County Fire Rescue Lieutenant Chad Cianciulli.
Florida Forest Service officials say a resident was burning yard debris when embers escaped to a nearby lot. From there, it multiplied in size in a matter of minutes, threatening Martha Smiley’s home of more than 50 years.
"The fire just kept getting closer rapidly, and the wind. I mean, the fire seemed to generate more wind. It was just very loud,” said Smiley.
Firefighters eventually got the upper hand on the fire; however, it probably won’t be the last, with high winds, dry weather, and recent freezes creating the perfect conditions for brush fire season.
"This is one of the worst times of the year for us,” admitted Lieutenant Cianciulli.
Fortunately, Martha Smiley did not suffer any injuries, and her home is fine. As for the neighbor who started the vegetation burn, state fire officials issued that person a violation.
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