I-95 southbound in Brevard County reopens as firefighters battle 1,600 acres of wildfire

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Interstate 95 reopened in Brevard County on Friday evening after authorities said it was closed for most of the day due to smoke from a 1,600-acre bushfire in neighboring Indian River County.

The fire broke out around 8 a.m. in the St. Sebastian Buffer Preserve in the Indian River and was completely uncontrolled by 2:30 p.m. According to officials, the fire was 10% contained by 5:00 p.m.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

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Brevard County officials said I-95 was closed in both directions Friday morning because of the fire. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the lanes in both directions near the Palm Bay Road exit in Brevard County had been reopened at 5.45 p.m.

I-95 going north in Indian River County remains closed. North traffic will be diverted from Exit 156 Mile Post at CR-512 and traffic south will be diverted from Exit 166 Mile Post at St. John’s Heritage Parkway.

“This is the largest fire we’ve seen in (Indian River County) this year, and we’ll be working late into the night to contain it,” said a Florida Forest Service representative, who added high winds a problem because of the embers could spread and start another fire.

The Florida Emergency Management Department is closely monitoring the devastating fire at St. Sebastian River State Park.

The Fellsmere Police Department said no homes or structures are considered to be threatened, but residents should continue to monitor the situation.

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A voluntary evacuation notice was issued on Friday evening for the following areas in Indian River County: East of Willow (130th Avenue) between 97th Street and 109th Street. There are currently no mandatory evacuation orders.

The wind pushes the fire from south to southwest. The portion of the fire west of the interstate is between 101st and 105th streets, but east of the power lines that run parallel to the interstate, according to Fellsmere police.

Several agencies are fighting the fire, including nine Florida Forest Service bulldozers and a helicopter.

05/21/21, 11:37 am | #TrafficAlert: As a reminder, I-95 on the southern county border (Palm Bay Rd. Exit SB and Fellsmere Exit NB) has been closed in both directions due to a devastating fire in Indian River County. Please take an alternative route. pic.twitter.com/d0VLwEExdn

– Brevard EOC (@BrevardEOC) May 21, 2021

FHP has closed I-95 going north on MM156 because smoke was blowing over I-95.

– IRCSheriff (@IRCSheriff) May 21, 2021

Traffic Warning Brevard County: I-95 Southbound will be closed on Malabar Rd. (MM 173) for an active fire in Indian River County. Use an alternate route.

– FHP Orlando (@FHPOrlando) May 21, 2021

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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