Merritt Island brush fire burns 1,000 acres at wildlife refuge site

'Sonny Fire' 50 percent contained early Monday


MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – A thick haze of acrid smoke greeted Central Brevard residents early Monday as a 1,000-acre brush fire burned through the wild lands of Merritt Island.

By Tuesday, the brush fire known as ‘Sonny Fire’ was about 75 percent contained, according to fire officials monitoring the blaze.

The brush fire, fed by dry, windy weather, broke out late Sunday and quickly spread, moving fire officials to shut down a portion of State Road 3. Firefighters remained at the site overnight to plow burn lines and to dampen spot overs before they spread the flames further.

The brush fire cast thick smoke an orange glow over the evening sky and was near Taylor Road and Haulover Canal. Fire officials have dubbed it  "Sonnys Fire." The cause was not immediately known. The smoke wafted southward overnight and could be smelled and seen as far as the Pineda Causeway and portions of Viera.

In the past, firefighters targeted the 140,000-acre natural reserve for a number of prescribed burns to help control overgrowth, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

Authorities tweeted that the wildfire appeared close to the Volusia County line. A second, smoldering brush fire continues to burn along State Road 50. Motorists are reminded to use caution as smoky conditions continue to impact the area.

Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates.