WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - "It's just a little shawl," said Nora Wiser, who is originally from Michigan. "Just in case we're out late and I know it's going to be chilly," she said as she walked through downtown West Palm Beach Monday night.
Cause for extra clothing for some was also cause for concern for others throughout Palm Beach County and the Treasure coast. Winds that made the air feel a bit colder were fanning flames of several brush fires hours earlier.
A two acre fire fanned by wind gusts spread quickly in Palm Beach Gardens Monday afternoon. Neighbors near Magnolia Bay Circle and Hood Road said they were shocked to see how fast the flames were moving.
"When I got here, I didn't realize it was in my backyard," said resident Cary Vanantwerp. "It was a little scary, but I think they have it under control as long as there aren't any embers that are going to fly and restart," she said. "I think we'll all be awake tonight."
Nearly twenty homes were evacuated as the fire crept closer. Luckily, everyone got out and there was no damage to any homes.
Earlier Monday, an eighty acre brush fire sparked in Port Saint Lucie. No homes were threatened there. A number of dried trees and other vegetation went up in flames in minutes. Drifting smoke from the fire was thick enough to cause visibility problems on nearby Interstate 95.
A statewide snapshot showed that nearly 80 fires were burning across Florida on Monday. The Commissioner of Agriculture said that is many more fires than this time last year. "This is a very serious situation," said Commissioner Adam Putnam."It's more dry at this point this year than it was last year and we all know what a terrible wildfire season 2011 was," he added.