Smells of smoke prompting several calls in south Indian River County

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- Four active brush fires are the reasons for the strong smell of smoke in southern Indian River County.

Fire crews were on the scene at 10 a.m. Friday to extinguish lingering flames from an 8-acre fire in the 800 block of 20th Avenue Southwest.

About 6:30 p.m. Thursday Indian River County Fire Rescue responded to the fire located on the west side of 20th Avenue Southwest near Oslo Middle School, which was caused by a homeless person's campfire, said Melissa Yunas, Florida Forest Service wildfire mitigation specialist.

Accessing the fire was a "major issue" because of the thick vegetation, Yunas said. Though the fire is near Oslo Middle school, apartment buildings, and a park, it is not threatening any structures. Yunas said crews are concerned the fire could spread and rekindle because of the north winds.

Florida Forest Service dug a plow line around the fire Thursday night. While the fire is contained, Friday morning's low humidity is keeping smoke close to the ground, prompting several calls.

Firefighters remained on the scene until 10:30 p.m. and returned throughout the night to monitor the blaze.

The fire was the third brush fire the Indian River County Fire Rescue responded to Thursday.

At 1 p.m., a fire was reported at mile-marker 143 along Interstate 95 just north of the 60-acre site that burned Wednesday. Smoke from this blaze, which burned 4-5 acres, did not affect I-95 traffic. Smoke from Wednesday's fire closed I-95 between Vero Beach and Fort Pierce for almost five hours.

At 4:24 p.m., another fire in a heavily wooded area in the 4300 block of Fifth Street Southwest burned itself out after the Florida Forest Service dug a plow line around it. Burkeen estimated it burned about an acre.

To see a map of active wildfires from Florida Forest Service, go here.


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