By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Residents living in north St. Lucie County near Indrio Road were told to evacuate Sunday afternoon when a wildfire started by the St. Lucie County International airport.
By late Sunday, the fire had consumed more than 200 acres, damaged nine homes and a number of sheds and wooden power poles, injured two homeowners and caused the evacuation of more than 1,000 St. Lucie County residents from their homes surrounding the fire.
According to officials, evacuated residents reported to a sheriff's office substation at the Indrio Crossing substation in Lakewood Park, where Red Cross was standing by to help.
A late afternoon wind gusting up to 30 miles per hour helped fan the flames, but the late afternoon showers helped significantly.
The Florida Fire Service reported that the major issues were the high winds and homes surrounded by dense woods, especially the wood-framed homes.
As a precaution, officials closed Indrio Road from U.S.1 to Kings Highway until late Sunday evening, when residents were allowed to go back to their homes.
By Monday morning, the fire was reportedly 90 percent contained, but fire officials warned that while the spread of the fire was contained, hot spots were still active in a marsh area near the airport north of U.S. 1.
More than 100 officials from several agencies helped to battle the blaze and assist residents, representing the St. Lucie County Fire District, the Martin County Fire Rescue, the Indian River County Fire Rescue, St. Lucie Emergency Management, Fort Pierce Police Department, St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Florida Highway Patrol and the Red Cross.
The Florida Fire Service and the St. Lucie County Fire Department will continued to monitor and work extinguishing the fire, called "mop-up," for the rest of the week.
"Mop up is the exhausting but necessary task of ensuring the fire stays inside the dozer control lines so the fire does not rekindle," said Melissa Yunas, wildfire mitigation specialist for the Florida Forest Service. "We use engines to wet down hot spots or burning trees, and use dozers to knock down dead trees on fire and widen control lines."
The fire is reportedly believed to have started on the airport property, and fire officials are still investigating. If anyone has any information, they are urged to call (863) 462-5160.