WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Firefighters are still working to extinguish a grass fire that temporarily forced authorities to shut down Tamiami Trail in West Miami-Dade.
Miccosukee Police units responded to the area about five miles west of Krome Avenue at around 11 a.m., Tuesday.
As of 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, officials said the fire spread to 560 acres.
It began as a 10-acre fire and has yet to been contained.
Florida Forest Service officials said they were mainly focusing on the western side of the fire throughout the day. Now, they are shifting their focus to the southeastern side of the blaze.
After observing the size of the fire, officials determined Southwest Eighth Street/Highway 41 had to be shut down in both directions.
Both eastbound and westbound traffic on Highway 41 has since returned to normal.
Officials are asking motorists to drive with caution as firefighters remain on scene.
7Skyforce HD hovered near the scene where a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue chopper could be seen flying low over a canal as it scooped up water to drop on the blaze.
“Our main goal is to keep the fire from getting into the small area of homes and also to keep the fire from jumping across Highway 41, so any time the fire gets near the highway, we make sure to keep it in control,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Kristen Miller. “We’ve also been protecting the structures, both by ground and by air.”
A second helicopter went even closer to the fire to rescue a weather station planted in the Everglades.
“The wind turned south, embers could jump Highway 41, and then the fire could be running with the strong east wind in the Miccosukee tribal land,” said Scott Peterich with the Florida Forest Service.
An isolated group of homes could also be seen dangerously close to the flames.
Firefighters have evacuated the nearby development.
Rescue crews are also working on the ground to put out the fire.
Meanwhile, police turned motorists away from the area for much of the day.
“Fires happen. You gotta do what you gotta do and get rerouted,” said one driver.
“Hopefully, we can get in. If we can get up to Everglades. Hopefully, one of our guys can get us through. If we have to, we’ll take an airboat,” added another motorist.
The cause of the fire remains unknown.
Miccosukee Police and Fire Rescue units as well as Florida Forest Service officers remained on the scene throughout the night to keep an eye on the blaze.
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