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Florida Forest Service: 'Unattended campfire' responsible for 1,150-acre wildfire

Fire shut down I-95 for hours, prompts voluntary evacuation
The Florida Fire Service says a preliminary investigation has determined Friday’s 1,600-acre wildfire was caused by an unattended campfire left in the park by someone on Thursday evening.
The Florida Fire Service says a preliminary investigation has determined Friday’s 1,600-acre wildfire was caused by an unattended campfire left in the park by someone on Thursday evening.
The Florida Fire Service says a preliminary investigation has determined Friday’s 1,600-acre wildfire was caused by an unattended campfire left in the park by someone on Thursday evening.
Posted at 11:33 AM, May 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 14:09:36-04

FELLSMERE, Fla. — The Florida Forest Service said a preliminary investigation has determined Friday's 1,150-acre wildfire was caused by an unattended campfire left in a park by someone Thursday evening.

Florida Forest Service spokesman Miguel Nevarez said Saturday the result should serve as a reminder to the public to be aware of the current weather conditions.

"It's been so dry," he said. "We've had very little to no rain and anything as simple as an unattended campfire can start this big wildfire."

WATCH: Florida Forest Service provides update on Fellsmere fire

Florida Forest Service provides update on Fellsmere fire

On Saturday, the Florida Forest Service and Indian River County Fire Rescue began reworking toward 100% containment of the 1,200-acre Tree Frog Wildfire when the sun rose at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park. The fire was 60% contained as of Saturday afternoon. But officials said all 1,150 acres were surveyed overnight.

"Overnight there was an entire survey of the area, making sure there weren't any spot-overs throughout the night, and today the main issue is the high winds," Nevarez said. "Essential after we get it contained, the next phase is to mop up the fire, spray water on any hot-spotted areas that continue to smolder, to put the fire out."

Meanwhile, Florida Light & Power stopped power lines as crews could work safely. Additionally, ground lines to contain the fire were also increased.

"It can be days. It all depends on how the weather plays out," Nevarez said. "It's been very windy and those winds are going to be a big issue today and the remaining days as we contain this fire."

The large and fast-growing wildfire was fueled by dry, windy conditions and closed part of Interstate 95 near the Indian River-Brevard County line for 10 hours Friday.

Also Friday, a voluntary evacuation order was put in place for the greater Fellsmere area from 97th Street to 109th Street, as well as everything east of Willow Street.

The order was lifted Friday evening and the interstate reopened shortly before 10 p.m.

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NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect that officials revised their estimate of acres from 1,600 to 1,150.