Brush fire burns near Kennedy Space Center

2,200 acres scorched by blaze; Merritt Island campground evacuated

Published On: Apr 02 2013 06:40:30 AM EDT   Updated On: Apr 03 2013 06:57:37 AM EDT
KSC fire sky 6
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -

A 2,200-acre Brevard County brush fire burning near Kennedy Space Center has forced the evacuation of a campground on Merritt Island, officials said.

The KARS Park campground near Hall Road was evacuated Tuesday afternoon because of the blaze, Brevard Fire officials said. At least a dozen Kennedy Space Center employees were evacuated from facilities in the area around the fire.

A lightning strike sparked the fire around 5 p.m. Monday, and it's grown to 2,200 acres, fire officials said.  The blaze fire is about 50 percent contained, officials said.

"It was just a lot of lightning late into the night, it was like right in that area, really it was all night long," said camper Angalika Anderson.

The blaze is burning south of the KSC's main facility and visitor complex, but no damage has been reported, and no one has been injured in the fire. Ashes from the fire could be spotted along Courtenay Parkway, which runs north-south outside the space center.

There may be some road closures on Chase Hammock Road and State Road 3 because of the smoke. Homes aren't threatened by the fire at this time, officials said.

The fire is burning in a wildlife refuge area, but officials said animals in the area instinctively know what to do.

"They're taking up shelter where they need to," said Patrick Pearson, district fire management officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Crews from Georgia and North Carolina are assisting in battling the blaze.

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