Wildfire near Sebastian airport; golfers evacuated from nearby course

SEBASTIAN, Fla. — The Sebastian Municipal Golf Course closed nine holes Tuesday afternoon after a 60-acre brush fire threatened the course and some homes, according to Indian River County Fire Rescue and Florida Forest Services.

The blaze was reported shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday, Assistant Fire Chief Brian Burkeen said. The fire was in a secluded area east of the Sebastian Municipal Airport that firefighters initially had difficulty accessing, they said. Forestry officials used a bulldozer to clear a path to part of the blaze, Burkeen said.

The blaze came within 450 feet of about five homes, Melissa Yunas, a forestry spokeswoman, said. Forestry officials said the area is prone to brush fires, which is why crews established firebreaks behind some homes months ago.

As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters had the blaze 40 percent contained and was not threatening any homes, Burkeen said. Forestry officials were expected to make a water drop to continue fighting the blaze, according to Burkeen.

The golf course closed the back nine holes and evacuated golfers during play Tuesday. The fire was on the north side of the course.

Sebastian police spokesman Officer Steve Marcinik said officers monitored the streets to make sure fire engines had a clear path to the blaze.

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