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Entries in Wildfires (2)

Tuesday
May312011

Brushfire Closes I95 Near Palm City Florida Video

The severe drought conditions and gusty winds helped to spread a brushfire across portions of interstate I-95 Memorial Day afternoon just south of the Palm City, FL exit. The heavy smoke and flames forced Florida Highway Patrol to close I-95 south of  714, as winds fanned flames from east to west across the interstate. Martin County Fire Rescue, along with the Florida Division of Forestry, battled the fire with heavy equipment and water during the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Traffic was turned back north, or forced east to the Florida Turnpike, causing significant travel delays in Martin County and the greater Stuart area. By late evening the interstate was reopened as the fire was under control, and visibility improved.

Tuesday
Apr192011

Lightning Initiates Wildfire Martin County Florida - Video

Lightning storms yesterday were to blame for numerous wildfires across Martin and Okeechobee counties. Like always, I was out shooting the storms developing along the east coast sea breeze boundary, and it wasn’t long after the lightning began that I could see smoke along the Okeechobee and Martin county line. This storm was producing a significant amount of lightning, and many of the cloud-to-ground strikes I was filming were coming out of the anvil and making contact with the ground far from the precipitation core. These are likely what got some of these fires going by early afternoon.

The western Martin county fire was threatening a ranch full of cattle and several structures, and when I arrive the Florida Division of Forestry, along with Martin County Fire Rescue, were already battling the blaze from the air and ground. The easterly winds were well established with the east coast sea breeze, and this was helping to move the fire west closer to structures and livestock on the ranch.

Melissa Yunas, with the Florida Division of Forestry, gave me the opportunity to get closer to their helicopter operations on the ranch and more information about the fire. By the evening hours, it looked like they had control of the fire, and Melissa noted they were able to save several structures in the area.

Melissa notes on Twitter updates this morning, that they are hard at work to clean up any hotspots left from yesterdays fires, and are prepared for another round of lightning storms this afternoon. Sure enough, as of this writing, the atmosphere is becoming primed for more sea breeze lightning storms over the next 4-5 hours. April and May are those transition months from the Florida dry season into the wet season. This past dry season has been extremely dry, and any lightning will initiate fires.

The footage above is just some small raw samples from yesterday fires. I will have more in a Florida weather documentary film I’m working on for later this Fall. Thank you to Melissa Yunas for allowing me a closer look from the frontline. Also see 2011 Florida Drought Pictures from May.