Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bush fire Florida... ( www.floridatoday..)

Brush fire blackens 16,000 acres in N. Brevard

Flames force evacuation of homes

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Aerial view of north Brevard fire: Aerial flyover of the 16,000+ acres of northern Brevard charred by brush fires. Video by Craig Rubadoux, FLORIDA TODAY Posted March 1, 2011

Aerial view of north Brevard fire
'Wind in our favor' officials say
Roads continue to be monitored north of Mims
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Written by
and DAVE BERMAN Filed Under
Local News

• Aftermath of trailer fire

• Scenes from Scottsmoor

• Command center at dawn

• North Brevard fire

• Parrish Park fire

• Flames threaten station

• Aerial view

• Red Cross

• Evacuated from RV park

• Interview with evacuee

• Helicopter fights fire

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SCOTTSMOOR — The large brush fire that emergency officials had feared all winter finally ignited Monday and burned a swath of more than 16,000 acres across much of the mainland in North Brevard and prompted a voluntary evacuation.

Wind-whipped flames reduced a mobile home to burnt debris and a charred metal frame at 6672 N. U.S. 1, roughly a half-mile south of the Volusia County border. This is the area where the fire jumped across U.S. 1, scorching vegetation on the road shoulders.

Orange fire flickered from nearby fenceposts and stumps this morning around the destroyed structure, and a live electrical line was downed near the driveway.

Next-door neighbor Eugene Birkhead estimated that the encroaching wall of fire measured 50 feet high. He ran three pumps and 20 sprinklers -- some of which are mounted atop his roof -- throughout the night to protect his home.

"We were scared to death," Birkhead said. "I didn't want to leave, though."

Birkhead said a recently cleared fireline helped save his property. Shortly after dawn, he drove a golf cart across his neighborhood checking damages.

On the east side of U.S. 1, Charlie Arthur said he didn't think the fire would jump the highway -- but flames began burning his 13-acre spread at about 11 p.m. He estimated 3 acres burned last night, reducing the tires on his flatbed trailer to metallic coils.

"I bought right after 1998," Arthur said of his property, watching smoke billow from his driveway. "I had some scorch marks on my trees from the 1998 fires. Now I've got new scorch marks."

Arthur said he only dozed off last night for about an hour, and his pet wolf was nervous and upset.

By sunrise, smoke hung over downtown Scottsmoor like brownish fog. Near Mims, Florida Highway Patrol troopers used red flares and orange cones to redirect northbound Interstate 95 traffic westward on State Road 46.

At 9 a.m. today, the Florida Highway patrol reopened Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 between State Road 46 in Brevard and State Road 44 in Volusia County were closed.