State park wildfire surpasses 1,000 acres; All lanes reopen


Update: All lanes on Interstate 95 were reopen by late Friday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol traffic map.

The brush fire – still at 1,600 acres – was 40 percent contained as of 6:30 p.m. Friday, the Florida Forest Service said. The voluntary evacuation for the area between 97th and 109th streets, east of Willow Street, has been lifted, Fellsmere police said.

Earlier story:

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A wildfire that reached 1,600 acres at a state park led authorities to close Interstate 95 in both directions Friday, affecting thousands of motorists, Fellsmere police and Florida Forest Service officials said.

Image taken early Friday afternoon PHOTO PROVIDED BY FLORIDA 511

The blaze – being pushed by southwest winds – grew from 150 acres to 1,600 acres within several hours, officials said. It was unclear when the roadways were expected to reopen.

It was unknown if any injuries were reported. No homes or structures were threatened as of 1 p.m., police said. Residents living near the area should monitor for updates on the fire.

Police issued a voluntary evacuation notice for the area east of Willow Street between 97th and 109th streets. Investigators were trying to determine the origin of the fire.

The fire sparked about 7:30 a.m. in the southeastern part of St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, according to Fellsmere police and Florida Highway Patrol. The flames also spread to the southwestern part of the park.

The park stretches from southern Brevard County to northern Indian River County.

The Forest Service has 10 bulldozers and one helicopter trying to contain the flames, officials said. Indian River County Fire Rescue and the Department of Environmental Protection were also at the scene.

Heavy smoke led Florida Highway Patrol to close lanes on I-95 north of C.R. 512 and south of Malabar Road in Brevard County, police said. Both north and southbound traffic were being rerouted.

Fellsmere residents can expect bypass traffic to travel through the city on C.R. 512, Broadway Street, South Carolina Avenue and Babcock Street until further notice.

Photos taken Friday afternoon, provided by Fellsmere Police Department

This story will be updated.

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