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Indian River County brushfire now 90 percent contained

Posted at 10:54 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 22:54:31-04

In Indian River County, crews are continuing to monitor brush fires, which have burned hundreds of acres off I-95 near Fellsmere.

In the past 24 hours, four different brush fires have burned nearly 400 acres, the biggest being the Sunny B fire.

As of Thursday evening, the Florida Forest Service reports that the fire has burned 381 acres and is now 90 percent contained.

The blaze even prompted Interstate 95 to shut down at one point on Wednesday, with smoke obstructing the road for drivers.

Luckily no homes or businesses were ever threatened, thanks to the hard work of fire crews from Indian River County and the Florida Forest Service.

“We're mopping up the most eastern side of the fire," said Brian Torres, a senior forest ranger for the FFS in Indian River County. "Three engines are going in there and starting to  work the lines of the fire to get it out."

WPTV rode along with fire crews as they monitored hot spots around the blaze that raged over 380 acres in the past day.

“That's our main thing, is containing it and keeping it away from structures," said Cory Richter, Assistant chief for Indian River County Fire Rescue.

Fire trucks had to drive deep into brush, a task that is not easy.

“You see what we're driving on right now, this is just a plow line, it's not a road," said Richter, pointing to the sandy path carved out through the trees and brush.

We came upon several spots that had to be doused with water before any flames can spread.

"We're trying to get all the hot spots now while the wind is in the direction that it's in because if it changes this afternoon, we get the sea breeze and it's going to feed this even more," said Richter.

We also witnessed one close call, where a tree became engulfed in flames. Crews put out this flare just in time.

“The fire that he just saw, if that had really gotten going and got started on the other side of the fire line, then we would've had another potential big brush fire," said Richter.

That's why firefighters want everyone to be extra careful.

"Just need to be watching what you're doing," said Torres. "Even the cigarette butts throwing on the ground and the dry grass can catch a fire. Even when you pull over the cars on I-95 as well, the heat from underneath the engine can start the fire."

Firefighters will continue to work until the fire is 100 percent contained.

"The next few days, we're hoping to mop this up as best as we can today. We'll be out here the next few days to continue to monitor this fire, and with this wind we're getting, it could start another fire. Push the embers across the line, and that's what we're trying to reduce right now," said Torres.