Fire at state park fully contained; cause is lightning, officials say

A wildfire caused by lightning at the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park was fully contained Wednesday evening, authorities said.

Smoke billowed throughout northern Indian River County, but no road closures were reported. The blaze started off at 30 acres and quickly spread to 80 acres, Florida Forest Service officials said.

Firefighters from Indian River County Fire Rescue, Forest Service and Florida Park Service fully contained the flames at 56 acres about 6:30 p.m. on the east side of Interstate 95, according to officials. The crews faced thick vegetation and obstacles such as fences, canals and ditches while suppressing the flames.

Firefighters found the single-tree where lightning struck mid-bark and made its way down to the forest floor, officials said.

The wildfire was not caused by a prescribed burn scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the park, said Forest Service spokeswoman Melissa Yunas.

The Forest Service and Indian River County Fire Rescue are on scene monitoring the fire. The flames are not currently threatening anyone or any structures.

State wildland firefighters are monitoring wind conditions for sudden changes that might affect the fire’s course. According to the Forest Service, the fire is burning mostly palmetto shrub vegetation.

From the Forest Service: Where there is fire, there is ultimately smoke, and smoke does not mix well with safe driving. Unforeseen changes in weather may create conditions where visibility on roadways is seriously impaired. Under these conditions drivers need to be cautious. The best decision is not to drive in fog or smoke. If you must drive under these conditions, there are actions that every driver should take to protect themselves and their passengers: (1) Slow down! (2) Turn on your low-beam headlights (3) Report the hazards to 911.

Photos provided by Florida Forest Service


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