By Dawn Krebs
FORT PIERCE -- Residents living in Fort Pierce saw the now-familiar plume of smoke on Sunday, March 31, when the northern wildfire that burned more than 200 acres on March 24 rekindled, burning another 200 acres.
According to Melissa Yunas, the wildfire mitigation specialist for the Florida Forest Service, winds gusting up to 20 miles per hour stirred up the hot ash that had been smoldering for days.
This wildfire spread to the west and northwest, but did not cross county lines.
"The wildfire tried to spread past Kings Highway and firefighters held the fire to the south, preventing it from entering Indian River County," she said.
While the wildfire flanked U.S. 1 and threatened a mobile home community to the north of Indrio Road, no homes were evacuated.
"The wind pushed the wildfire into the Indrio Savannas County Preserve, and the majority of the fire was in the marsh," Ms. Yunas said.
Meanwhile, the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office closed roads in the area from 4:15 p.m. to approximately 8:15 p.m. during the blaze. The roads affected included U.S. from Indrio Road to Turnpike Feeder Road and Indrio Road from U.S. 1 to Kings Highway.
A press release also indicated that southbound traffic on U.S.1 was diverted at the Indian River County line.
After 8:15 p.m., the Turnpike Feeder Road from the Spanish Lakes Country Club remained closed to northbound traffic, but all other roads had reopened.
Since access was difficult, the Florida Forest Service helicopter was used to make 49 water drops totaling more than 15,000 gallons of water.
In all, more than 40 emergency responders from the St. Lucie County Fire District, the Florida Forest Service and the St. Lucie County Environmental Resource Department helped to battle the wildfire.
Residents living in that area should expect to see fire crews out the rest of the week keeping an eye on the burned area and wetting down hot spots.