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Florida's Turnpike reopens in Martin County following brush fire

Heavy smoke causes problems for drivers on Friday afternoon
A brush fire shuts down all lanes of Florida's Turnpike in Palm City on March 19, 2021.jpg
Posted at 1:57 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 23:30:51-04

PALM CITY, Fla. — Florida's Turnpike has fully reopened in Martin County on Friday afternoon following a brush fire in the area.

The Florida Forest Service said the 40-acre fire broke out near Citrus Boulevard and Boat Ramp Road, just west of the turnpike.

"Because we haven't had very much rain in a very long time, everything is just completely dried out," said Florida Forest Service Mitigation Specialist Miguel Nevarez.

All lanes of Florida's Turnpike were shut down for hours in both directions between mile markers 133 (Martin Downs Boulevard) and 138 (Becker Road), according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

"The wind really creates a hazard for all of us as these fires kick-off because it moves these fires quickly," said Martin County Sheriff's Office Major John Budensiek.

The Turnpike eventually reopened around 5 p.m.

Officials said the fire started around 7 a.m. and was close to being extinguished around 1:30 p.m. However, the flames jumped the Turnpike and reignited.

The fire has about burned itself out, according to authorities.

Officials don't suspect any foul play and said no homes were in danger.