Miami-Dade County

Brush fire ‘under control’ after scorching 300 acres in Kendall

Fire crews battle a large brush fire in Southwest Miami-Dade on Sunday, April 19, 2015.
Fire crews battle a large brush fire in Southwest Miami-Dade on Sunday, April 19, 2015. El Nuevo Herald

A 300-acre brush fire that burned for hours near Southwest 162nd Avenue and Southwest 42nd Street was declared “under control” Monday morning by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. The fire had sent plumes of dark smoke late Sunday north into Kendall, Sweetwater, Doral and other nearby areas.

Smoke was being blown as far north as Southwest Broward, the National Weather Service reported.

Jiovani Moreno, along with dozens of other nearby residents, lined Southwest 157th Avenue to get a better glimpse of the flames and smoke.

“The flames are redder than red can be,” he said Sunday, adding that he spotted a Miami-Dade Fire helicopter using a bucket to douse the flames with lake water. “This is crazy.”

The fire is still causing road closures through the area. According to 511 Traffic, Southwest Eighth Street is shut down in both directions from 152nd Avenue to Krome Avenue. Hazy conditions persist in the area and hot spots remain, CBS4 meteorologist Lissette Gonzalez said Monday morning.

At about 8 Sunday night, the fire jumped over Southwest Eighth Street, moving northeast, Florida Division on Forestry Spokesman Scott Peterich.

It was not clear what started the fire, how long it had been burning, or whether any buildings were in danger.

Peterich said Miami-Dade Fire tried to stop the flames from spreading to any nearby structures, and that the cause of the fire is under investigation. A plane will be sent up Monday to survey the fire and get a better idea of how much as been burned and where the hotspots are.

The smoke from the burning Melaleuca trees and grass forced firefighters to stage trucks at The Pit BBQ restaurant on Eighth Street to protect the structure, the department tweeted Sunday night.

Peterich said it is not uncommon to have fires in that area.

“The drought index is so high, it doesn’t take much to get a fire started,” he said, adding that the Monday’s forecast for rain could help, if there isn’t a lot of lightning. “Just a little spark.”

Peterich said anyone with breathing problems should stay indoors until the smoke subsides. The smoke was expected to settle near the ground, causing reduced visibility on roadways Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Residents said they were concerned they would get a warning to evacuate as the smoke got heavier.

Residents described the area, not far from the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, as a spot where people go to ride motorcycles and ATVs.

“There’s black smoke all over the sky,” said Jose Navarrette, who lives near Southwest 157th Avenue and 16th Street.

Luis Castillo, who lives near West Kendall, said he could see the flames from his backyard. Castillo said there have been fires in that area in the past.

“We get used to it,” he said.

El Nuevo Herald photographer Hector Gabino contributed to this report.

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