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The portion of Interstate 95 shut down Friday because of a raging 37-acre wildfire in the area of Beville Road and South Williamson Boulevard, is now open according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
“Troopers will continue to monitor conditions,” said Lt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Drivers need to use caution in the area.”
On Friday the fire “jumped the interstate,” so units were forced to battle the blaze along the east and west portions of I-95, according to scanner reports.
Emergency responders got the call around 2 p.m. and less than 90 minutes later, the state announced the shutdown of I-95.
Troopers shut down I-95 from mile markers 255 to 260 in both directions due to “poor visibility” and that the closure would remain in effect until sunrise at the earliest.
Northbound I-95 was shut down at State Road 421 and southbound I-95 was shut down at Interstate 4, according to FHP.
Fire units had the blaze 90 percent contained at 37 acres Saturday morning, according to the Florida Forest Service. The fire on the west side of the interstate was contained and limited to less than an acre, the forest service said.
Julie Allen, a Florida Forest Service spokeswoman, said firefighters were focused Friday on “suppression efforts” and it was too early to surmise what may have caused the fire.
“We have not had the opportunity to do an investigation just yet,” Allen said.
Across the state, Florida’s dry season has started and drought conditions have been gradually creeping up.
As of Friday morning, there were 25 active wildfires burning over 32,777 acres in Florida, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stated Friday. Since the beginning of the year, some 1,142 wildfires have burned 68,653 acres.
“Historically, spring is the most active time for Florida’s year-round wildfire season due to typical weather patterns and residents burning yard waste from the accumulation of winter debris,” Florida Forest Service Director Jim Karels said in a news release Friday.
Next week is the Forest Service’s annual Wildfire Awareness Week. Karels said that’s “a great time for residents and visitors to learn their role in preventing wildfires.”
On Wednesday, portions of Bill France Boulevard and Mason Avenue had to be closed due to a brush fire. Heavy smoke continued to hover in that area a day or two after the fire was put out, according to the Daytona Beach Fire Department.
On March 28, I-95 had to be shut down between State Road 44 and Dunlawton Avenue because of a brush fire that stretched across more than 200 acres. That fire was caused by burning trees in the area of Airport Road and Sugar Mill Drive. The trees were being cleared for the construction of a new subdivision, according to the city of New Smyrna Beach.
Geosam Capital, developers of the Coastal Woods residential and commercial development off Pioneer Trial, took responsibility for the March 28 wildfire and promised to take preventative measures in the future.