WEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – The state was forced to shut down an 11-mile stretch of Krome Avenue from U.S. 27 to S.W. 8th St. because of hazards from a stubborn brush fire that scorched 1800 acres in two days.
The Florida Highway Patrol blocked all traffic in that stretch as the fire raced towards Krome Avenue. By 5 p.m. Monday, some 40 firefighters with Miami-Dade and the Division of Forestry had set a “back fire” just west of Krome Avenue to keep it from spreading further west.
No homes or structures were threatened and no one was evacuated and by nightfall Monday, the strategy seemed to be working. But firefighters planned to work through the night to monitor conditions and Krome Avenue was shut down in that stretch indefinitely.
Major Al Cruz of the Miami-Dade Fire Dept. told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “What we do is burn an area in front of the fire so that when it reaches that area it burns itself out from a lack of oxygen.”
The brush fire started around 2 p.m. on Sunday near the Florida Turnpike and N.W. 41st St. and spread west and northwest. The winds and dry conditions made matters worse.
“We have a strong easterly wind and the big concern is the vast amount of fuel on the other side of Krome Avenue, this grass is very very flammable.”
Authorities were not sure what sparked this fire.
“We feel confident it was not lightning,” said Scott Peterich of the Division of Forestry. “There were several hundred people riding All Terrain Vehicles and we do feel this was a human cause. It’s so dry out there and if these ATVs don’t have a spark arrester, it’s easy for a fire to start.”
“People need to be cautious,” said Cruz. “We don’t know what started this but people going down Krome Avenue need to be careful about throwing out cigarettes out of their car. It doesn’t take much to start a fire.”