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BIG PINE KEY (CBSMiami) — One hundred acres have burned in a fast moving brush fire in the Florida Keys that has consumed one home.
The fire broke out on Big Pine Key on Sunday and traveled west across the Gulf side including a portion of the Key Deer National Preserve, where one endangered Key deer fawn was rescued.
Many residents were still evacuated Monday, unable to endure the thick smoke.
“It’s just stunning, actually. It’s incredible, after Irma, and now this,” said Lisa Millatti, whose home was not damaged.
Actually, Irma made the fire intense as it is. The storm killed so many trees and brush, leaving them dead, dry fuel.
However, a representative for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said Monday morning that fire crews worked through the night on the Big Pine Key brush fire.
“We did not lose any ground or any more structures last night,” Monroe County Emergency Management Director Marty Senterfitt said Monday morning. “Many people worked long hours without sleep to protect people’s homes and prevent the fire from spreading.”
While the fire isn’t spreading, it’s popping up from place to place in a still smoldering area.
Many scattered hot spots remain throughout the area from Hibiscus Drive to Key Deer Boulevard. There were lots of flare-ups.
A CBS4 News crew came upon one flare up, threatening a mobile home and called for help. Within three minutes, a Florida Forestry Service truck arrived and beat down the flames.
Dennis Thompson wielded a garden hose, trying to keep the fire from jumping Hibiscus Drive.
“It’s hard enough getting over a hurricane. I’m still living in a tent, so this is kind of a double bad for me,” Thompson said.
Tim Cox also had his garden hose running full force.
“We are trying to do what we can do. The firefighters are fighting it, but it’s jumping too much. When they get this spot put down and they move, it jumps,” Cox said.
Fire officials say the blaze was made worse by windy and dry conditions.
The crews’ priorities were to protect people’s homes and prevent the fire from spreading. It remained about 40-percent contained Monday morning.
People who do not live on Big Pine Key should avoid the area, especially around Key Deer Boulevard.
Nobody has been hurt but one house, and its separate garage, were destroyed.