ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - A 70-acre wildfire in Port St. Lucie was contained overnight after it forced the evacuation of 40 homes Thursday evening.
The fire started in the Southbend area of the 3000 block of Wake Rd. All lanes of Florida's Turnpike were reopened around 2:40 a.m. Friday.
Florida Forest Service said dry, windy conditions caused the fire to grow.
State Firefighters removed vegetation behind homes and stopped the wildfire by encircling the fire perimeter with a bulldozer containment line.
As of 10:10 p.m. Thursday, the fire was 100 percent contained.
The neighborhood evacuation was lifted at 9:30 p.m. when Bella Road residents were allowed to returned to their homes.
"Lots of smoke, a lot of inhalation of smoke when I was running to my home to get to my animals. It was all I could do to breathe because the smoke was so heavy to get into my house," said Amanda Lecanu, a resident who was evacuated.
Florida Power & Light was also on scene in case power lines and power poles caught fire. Power remained on for residents.
According to Florida Forest Service officials, winds were coming out of the southeast, gusting up to 15 mph.
“Most of these homes had defensible space, which allowed firefighters access around the entire home to defend them,” State Wildland Firefighter Jeff Curl said in a written statement. “As embers floated into people’s yards, the moisture depleted grass and mulch would ignite. A good lesson learned, from this wildfire, is for homeowners to keep their yards well irrigated to prevent the dry grass and mulch from igniting.”
There was some minor damage to a shed and a few fences but overall people said they were very grateful it wasn't worse.
Resources used by crews to fight the fire:
St. Lucie County Fire District – 7 brush trucks, 3 engines, 1 water tender
Martin County Fire Rescue – 2 engines, 2 brush trucks and 1 water tanker
Florida Forest Service – 7 firefighter bulldozers, 1-Type 6 engine, 1-fixed wing reconnaissance pilot
Fire crews said they don't know what caused the fire.