Officials: Homes near SWMD brush fire not at risk

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Firefighters and crews said a brush fire burning in Southwest Miami-Dade is nearly contained and is not a danger to the homes in the area.

Crews continue to battle the flames more than 24 hours after they received the initial call of the fire.

According to the Florida Forest Service, area residents called 911 to report flames in the wooded area behind the Gateway Estates, near Southwest 352nd Street and U.S. 1.

“We’re putting water on it, just multiple tanks of water to try and drown the fire,” said Scott Peterich of the Florida Forest Service.

The flames burned about 90 acres by Monday afternoon. As of 5 p.m., Monday, the fire was 75 percent contained.

“We’ve been rotating crews all night long, just to keep an eye on the spot fires that are still going,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Debra Swensson.

Officials said crews have made significant progress keeping homes out of harm’s way.

“Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is doing a tremendous job on structure protection, and they’re also dumping a lot of water just behind the residents,” said Peterich. “They’re soaking the residents down.”

Early Monday morning, a second fire broke out about a mile away, near Card Sound Road. The smaller blaze burned nearly 20 acres before it was 90 percent contained.

In both cases, the weather has been crucial factor for firefighters.

“It’s shifted due to wind changes. It’s gone different directions,” said Swensson.

Peterich said that although the fire continues to burn, residents in the area do not have to worry about their homes.

“It’s looking real good away from the mobile home community,” Peterich said.

As crews continued to watch the winds, officials advised residents to remain indoors.

“For the residents here who have any respiratory problems, the smoke is really thick,” said Peterich. “It’s been this way going on 24 hours.”

However, crews made sure to help out residents who needed help, like Betty Bottomley, who made a sign thanking Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

“These guys were telling everyone, ‘No, it’s OK,’ you know, a lot of psychological soothing going on, which is important,” said Betty Bottomley. “I was starting to pack up.”

Although the fire is nearly out, Peterich warns residents should remain vigilant due to the increased fire activity seen in the past two weeks.

The fire is mostly burning in dry brush that the crews are unable to reach. Officials said it could be days before it’s completely contained.

“They did a great job, a great job,” said Bottomley.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. They do not believe weather was to blame.

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