WEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) — Krome Avenue has re-opened to traffic after an 11-mile stretch from Tamiami Trail to Okeechobee Road had been closed for nearly a week due to thick smoke from a nearby brush fire, however the fire is now 85-percent contained.
State forestry officials said Sunday the fire has scorched more than 68-thousand acres. Officials are counting on a canal running along the north side of the Tamiami Trail to help keep the fire contained and from crossing the road.
Rain in the area also helped firefighters this weekend. “Luckily the rain has been doing a very good job for us. We had quite a bit of rain yesterday and we just had a couple of very strong showers come through,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Jose Herrera on Sunday afternoon. “As long as we don’t get lightning associated with it, those that set off new fires, we’re doing very well.”
Firefighters will continue to perform aerial reconnaissance in search of any hotspots.
The cause of the fire remains unknown, although one theory is that all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes in the area sparked it. Miami-Dade firefighters have been warning would-be thrill-seekers to avoid using the vehicles.
“It’s way too dry right now to use an ATV,” firefighter spokesman Dan Herrera said.
Forestry spokesman Scott Peterich said while the fire appears to be devastating, in reality it “is very healthy for the Everglades.”
“The Everglades were made to burn, and this area hasn’t had a good burn in 25 years,” Peterich said.
Peterich said when the rains do eventually come, “the area will come back more healthy and vibrant than ever.”