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Massive controlled burn underway at Merritt Island refuge

A massive 4,000-plus acre fire at the Merritt Island National Refuge is being monitored by federal firefighters. (Photo: TIM SHORTT/FLORIDA TODAY)
A massive 4,000-plus acre fire at the Merritt Island National Refuge is being monitored by federal firefighters. (Photo: TIM SHORTT/FLORIDA TODAY)

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – A massive controlled burn involving 4,040-acres is underway Sunday at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge with federal firefighters monitoring the multiple fires throughout the afternoon.  

The blazes, taking place across the 140,000-acre refuge on the barrier island, could be seen casting smoke across the skies of Central Brevard, according to News 6 partner Florida Today. The refuge remains open to visitors, although Strawbridge Trail and Biolab Road remained closed due to the fires.

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The burns were being conducted to manage the overgrowth on the island, Florida Today reported. The U.S. Forest Service is overseeing the controlled burn.