Brush fires in Martin, St. Lucie counties

Posted at 3:36 PM, Feb 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-16 04:17:29-05

High winds and dry conditions have firefighters on alert and in action today.

Martin County firefighters were dispatched to four brush fires Wednesday afternoon.

As of 3:30 p.m. one had burned 45 acres near Kanner Highway & Pratt Whitney Road, according to the Florida Forest Service.

A bulldozer and fixed wing pilot were assisting.

Firefighters were also sent to the 5900 block of Community Dr., the 5800 block of Salerno Rd. and another nearby location.

RELATED: Health department warns of risks associated with Martin County fires

Officials said some structures were in danger and aerial devices are being used to protect homes.

Due to a fire near the Indian River State College Chastain Campus in Stuart, the school tweeted that classes will be canceled the evening of Wednesday.

"They canceled our classes and evacuated the school because all the trees up to the road were burning," says student Tanner Schlapkouh.

"When I pulled up, I had no idea why and then I looked up and saw the trees in flames and smoke and everything...guess (the school will) evacuate. Don't want to get anyone hurt in case the school catches on fire," says another student Jared Mayo. 

News of the fires spread fast. Destin Mock,14, learned about this one after school.

"I'm sitting on the bus on my phone and I heard people saying there was a fire and I look up and I could see a bunch of smoke blowing through the clouds," he says.

His instinct was to grab a camera. He wants to fight fires just like this one.

"For about five minutes, it was kind of scary because you couldn't see your hand in front of your face because of the smoke," he says.

The Red Cross was also out today, providing food and water to the crews.

Some neighbors living in the Rocky Point area of Stuart reported power outages. It was not immediately clear if they were related to the brush fires.

Martin County Emergency Management has opened Rumor Control lines for information on the brush fires. You can call 772-287-1652.

A shelter is also opening. You can call the Rumor Control line to find out where.

The St. Lucie County Fire District is assisting Martin County with the brush fires.

A small brush fire broke out between two homes north of Fort Pierce around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Travis Townsend said he was resting when a neighbor banged on his door along North 51st Street, and told him his backyard was on fire.  “Just seen a little smoke then I seen the fire.  I said, ‘oh this is serious, I gotta call, I gotta call.’“

There were no evacuations and no one was hurt.

Firefighters had to clear some of the underbrush so they could get to the flames.

The Florida Forest Service says the lack of rain in recent weeks has our entire area under an enhanced wildfire risk.