MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Easterly winds are helping to push the smoke from a brush fire away from the Miami metro area.
At last check, the fire, near SW 8th Street and SW 137th Avenue, had burned more than 700 acres and was about 20% contained.
At this point, no structures are being threatened and traffic on the Dolphin Expressway is not affected.
Still, residents and business owners in the area are keeping a close eye on it.
“This is the fourth fire since I moved out here in 2012 and this is the closest it’s ever been,” said one man.
The fire reached the edge of Adolfo Betancourt’s family paintball center, engulfing they Australian pines bordering his property. He said he got the call from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue around 7 a.m.
“Obviously when you hear that you don’t brush your teeth. You don’t do anything. You come right out and what we were able to do is run a hose to the fire line and let the water run to prevent the fire from encroaching us on to the property,” he said.
Betancourt said thankfully he was able to stay open.
“So far the fire has come close but nothing major. No smoke. This was the 4th fire since I moved here in 2012. This is the closest it has ever been,” he said.
Radio stations WSUA 1260 AM and WACC 830 AM said they are worried the fire could damage their towers. A Cube Smart Self Storage facility in the area was evacuated.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is working with state forestry to control the fire, they say it’s only about 20 percent contained. They say strong winds pose a challenge.
“They spread the fire very rapidly. Also, there’s a lack of rain the past couple of months,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Kirsten Miller. “At this time we are worried about the fire possibly jumping the canal. Forestry is working very hard to keep it from jumping that canal and as long as it does not no structures are threatened.”
Even so, Betancourt says he’s on high alert.
“When you’re open to the public the first thing is that it is important for the people and to make sure you come out and make sure everyone is safe. The fire is not anything you need to be around,” he said.
Miller said if the there is a wind switch, and it starts blowing the smoke towards populated areas, they may issue a warning to anyone with a health condition or asthma to stay inside.