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800-acre brush fire in Martin County flares up again

About 500 campers in Hungryland preserve area told to evacuate
800-acre brush fire in Martin County flares up on March 25, 2023
Posted at 7:02 PM, Mar 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-25 23:52:00-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — The brush in the Hungryland preserve area in Martin County flared up again on Saturday, burning between 50 and 70 acres, according to Martin County Fire Rescue.

The 800-acre fire in the Hungryland had been 100% contained on Thursday.

“Game wardens were coming through and telling everybody to evacuate. The wildfire had started back up," camper Bobby Carlson said.

No injuries were reported as an estimated 500 campers were in the area for the weekend and it was no easy task for people to leave with just one exit on Southwest Pratt Whitney Road.

"With this being our only access point, there's people on the other side of the woods. It takes an hour to get to the other side," Carlson said outside a gate that was being monitored by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission officers.

By sunset Saturday, the fire had been reported to be contained to just 30 acres, but dry and windy conditions were keeping fire officials busy.

"We desperately need rain," Jimmy Granato, who was planning a 16th birthday party for his son in Hungryland, said. "All we can do is be aware, be safe, keep families safe and try to enjoy the outdoors and be aware there are risks."

The area originally reopened to people at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Four bulldozers and an airplane were used to initially extinguish the blaze.

Officials said current weather conditions, including low humidity, winds and lack of rain, are contributing factors that have made it difficult to contain, including embers spreading the fire faster.