(WSVN) - A smokey situation has arisen in the Everglades after a storm Wednesday night, which led to several fires in West Broward and Palm Beach County.
According to officials, lightning sparked the flames.
7Skyforce hovered above the scene Thursday, to what officials were referring to as a 2-bravo fire.
The fire is about two and a half miles west of Oakland Park Boulevard. The smoke was blowing west to east and went as far as 441 to the east.
“Sometimes you see a little ash,” said Jason Cogan, who lives in Weston.
In Weston, people can see and smell it.
“It smells like something’s burning, what you would expect,” said Andrea Frieberch.
“We were driving up on 75, and we smelled it a little bit, kind of when we were closer, right to the edge of the Everglades,” said Cogan.
There are several spot fires with hundreds of acres being burned.
The three fires ranged from 800, 1,000 and 5,000 acres of land that was burned.
“You know, I’ve seen a lot of this beautiful planet but the Everglades is very unique,” said Bill Ferris, a boat captain.
Ferris has traveled the world exploring the outdoors, but South Florida is home. He makes his living taking people out for air boat tours through the everglades, although, with the fires, he has been keeping an eye out.
“There’s a lot of great people that have private cabins out here,” said Ferris. “They put a lot of work, a lot of time and effort, so if the fire is in the way, that structure can be destroyed.”
The fire has not affected any inhabited areas aside from some privately owned camps in the area.
The smoke can be seen from populated areas, but the fires are miles away.
As the fires began from a lightning strike, it is a natural occurrence in the Everglades.
“We get afternoon thunderstorms, you get frequent lightning. It does get in these areas of sawgrass,” said Florida Forest Service spokesperson David Rosenbaum. “It burns off some of the unburned fuels.”
The smoke plumes were the backdrop for Thursday’s evening commute. The traffic signs on U.S. 27 warn drivers that smoke could make it hard to see as the winds blow west.
“The main concern with these winds right now on this fire is the possibility of smoke on U.S. 27,” said Rosenbaum.
The flames are expected to eventually burn themselves out. The same thunder and lightning storm that caused the flames to occur can also shower heavy rain and burn out the fire.
Until then, Ferris said he will continue to check on the cabins and wildlife, like a kilted stilted coastal bird which comes to the Everglades to lay eggs, that is no match to a wild fire.
“Some of these nests are on the ground and are at risk of being destroyed,” said Ferris.
If the fires were to reach a canal, the flames would die down due to no longer having anything else to burn, or the frequent rain will kill the fire.
No structures have been struck and traffic remains unaffected.
Florida Highway Patrol and other agencies are monitoring the winds that may shift in the coming hours or days, due to how they may affect visibility on U.S. 27.
As they keep an eye on how big these fires get, so do the people who live nearby.
“We used to live in Los Angeles, so you would see that a lot more, kind of in the summertime but not so much over here,” said Cogan.
At last check, the Florida Forest Service estimated more than 8,000 acres have burned in those three fires in both counties. They expect that number to grow.
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