Thunderstorms bring scare, but fire crews continue to contain large Fellsmere fire

Storms keep fire crews on standby in Fellsmere

FELLSMERE, Fla. - Fire crews continued to work Wednesday to keep hot spots from re-igniting the 350 acre fire in Fellsmere that threatened numerous homes.  

The worry for firefighters most of the day were the threat of afternoon thunderstorms, which they expected to fuel the fire.  

The division of forestry had their tractors making lines around the burned area to make a buffer from what hadn't burned while Indian River County Fire Rescue crews water the hot spots near houses.

"We're still very dry, we had a little bit of rainfall during the storm," Assistant Fire Chief Brian Burkeen said.  "But not enough to make any substantial changes to the water tables."

Dry conditions along with threats of thunderstorms have worried fire rescue officials all day. 

Burkeen said it was possible that the fire could spark up again like it did Tuesday, but they were there to alleviate that situation from happening.

Several brush trucks combed through the charred areas near 81st street and 79th street to put out the smoldering spots.

"They're more maneuverable," Burkeen said. "They don't get stuck as much and we're utilizing them to use the plow lines."

When those run out of water, the regular fire trucks came to the rescue.

The main obstacle Wednesday was getting to the damaged areas for Indian River County Fire Rescue crews.
"This fire runs north and south," Burkeen said. "There are no north and south roads into the fire.  They're all east and west and dead into the fire so with our fire apparatus we're kind of limited."

That's where the division of forestry has been crucial because most of the acreage that was burned was in the area fire rescue crews couldn't get to.  

At 4:30 Wednesday evening the thunderstorms crews waited for came, but mainly poured rain on the brush, which alleviated the fire from sparking again.

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