83ºF

Large Brevard brush fire 95 percent contained

Fire scorches 855 acres

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – State Road 50 reopened early Wednesday as firefighters continued to battle a brush fire in Brevard County.

The blaze, which started around 9 p.m. Tuesday, has scorched 855 acres and is 95 percent contained, officials said.

S.R. 50 was closed in both directions Tuesday night at Interstate 95, and the eastbound side was blocked at the Orange County-Brevard County line, near the St. Johns River. Drivers headed east from Orange County into Brevard County, had to use State Road 520 or State Road 528 as an alternate route.

Cliff Frazier, of the Florida Forest Service, said Tuesday that evacuations of the hotels at S.R. 50 and I-95 were possible but none were ordered.

"It was posing a threat to the hotels that we're near right now," said Candice Stevenson with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "The hotels off of state road 50."

Wildlife officials say the threat of more bad weather on Wednesday has fire crews concerned that the blaze could spread.

"We're looking at thunderstorms later tonight or this evening, so we might have a chance of more erratic winds, so we're hoping to have everything buttoned up before that happens," Stevenson said.

Police are asking drivers to use extreme caution due to smoke in the area.

"State Road 50 is a fast traveling road.  It's a very well traveled road," said Stevenson. "You just have to  be careful."

Firefighters said it's been difficult to get the blaze fully contained.

"Just right now being able to get in there (is a problem). The roads are narrow roads, so you can bottleneck equipment that's in there, and it's wet (and) in a marshy area," said Travis McGowen, of the Florida Forest Service. "This is how we fight the fire, with our heavy equipment mostly, but we can't get in there because it's so wet."

Officials tell News 6 lightning sparked the fire.

"We're working on it with heavy equipment, keeping the lines, and burning out pockets that haven't burned yet and just monitoring blackened areas to make sure there's no more smoke in those areas," Stevenson said. 

[RAW VIDEO BELOW SHOWS SCOPE OF BREVARD BRUSH FIRE]

The Florida Highway Patrol is posting live traffic conditions. View updated road closure information here.

Watch News 6 for more on this story.


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