WEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade firefighters were working to contain two small brush fires in Southwest Miami-Dade.
A five acre fire burned in the area of new homes under construction. Occupied homes were nearby, but no evacuations were necessary.
“I was scared for my life at that moment,” said Mario Diego whose home was threatened.
Christian De Leon was off-roading when he noticed the fire and ran to help. He also shot video of the flames. “We decided to get off and help the family,” he explained.
A shift in the wind and an increase in firefighting power caused firefighters to re-think plans to evacuate homes in the area. South Florida brush and grasslands are tinder dry due to low humidity, cool temperatures, and a weekend of high winds that causes vegetation to dry out, even though some areas did see brief showers.
“We haven’t had any rain. It’s dry conditions. It’s the perfect match,” said Arnold Piedrahita of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
The area that burned Monday afternoon is a small plot of brush at SW 144th Avenue between SW 14th and SW 15th street. From a single truck, firefighters brought in helicopters for air drops of water and bulldozers to create firebreaks.
After about an hour, most of the flames were out and firefighters were monitoring hot spots.
Shortly after that fire started, another small brush fire started near 152 Avenue and 82nd Street in The Hammocks.
Rocio Larosa said, “there was a point where I got my keys, grabbed the dog, grabbed the boys and said ‘let’s just go’ because I got really afraid of it coming this way.”
Firefighters are urging people to watch for dry brush and show caution with open flames, cigarette butts, hot engines like you would find on an ATV, and other sources of heat.