22-acre brush fire under investigation after evacuating homes in Martin County

UPDATE:  MARTIN COUNTY, Fla.-- You may smell some smoke while driving through Martin County today. On Sunday, a 22-acre brush fire burned along Salerno Road in Stuart from Kanner Highway to Ault Avenue.

The Florida Forest Service came out shortly after 8:00 a-m Monday morning to address dozens of hot spots in the area. The Forest Service says they are investigating the fire as suspicious and believe that someone set the brush on fire. It is unknown if it was done intentionally.

WPTV Meteorologist Glenn Glazer says strong wind gusts will be coming through the area from mid-afternoon through this evening. He says these winds may ignite the hot spots. The Forest Service has turned the investigation over to the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement. Anyone with information on how the fire started can call 863 462 5160Update reported by Christina Noce, NewsChannel 5

EARLIER:

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla.--The Florida Forestry Service has ruled the cause of a wildfire in Martin County on Sunday to be suspicious.

The cause is still under investigation, but officials say it was not the result of an authorized burn.

The fire started around noon Sunday, and spread to about 22 acres within about three hours, according to the Florida Forestry Service.

The fire spread to both the north and south sides of Salerno Road.

Fire officials say they will remain watchful for hot spots for the next day or two, making sure nothing can reignite and continue causing damage.

The Florida Forestry Service says 22 homes were at risk from the fire.

"You get the chills when you come back here, just from the potential devastation," said nearby resident Janine Wilde.

The fire spread into her backyard, covering the area with soot and burning a work shed.

It all happened while she and her husband were two hours out of town.

PHOTOS: Martin Co. brush fire threatens homes (http://bit.ly/1eHGZXZ )

"We get the news that this is going on and you just can't get home fast enough," said Wilde.

Meanwhile, Martin County Fire Rescue rushed to extinguish the blaze.  Martin County Battalion Chief Hoss Wiggins watched the fire from his home in the middle of the smoke and fire.

"You're never really off duty," Wiggins said.

Wiggins lives next door to Wilde and helped protect her pets while she rushed home.

"The smoke had gotten so thick that standing where I am now, I couldn't see their house," Wiggins said.

Wiggins says it was a rare chance to watch his firefighters from the sidelines.

"Kind of sit on the sidelines and watch our fire rescue personnel in action," Wiggins said.

He says he proud of the job they did preventing any homes from being damaged and anyone from getting hurt.

Janelle is now looking to clean up, but thankful her home is safe.

"It's scary the thought of what could have happened," said Janelle.

Officials with the Florida Forestry Service expect conditions to remain smoky Monday morning.

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