Fire officials were finally able to contain a massive brush fire that burned one thousand acres of the St. John's National Wildlife Refuge over the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, Brevard County Fire Officials, along with members from the Florida State Forestry and the National Wildlife Refuge worked to put out small hot spots that were scattered across the land right off of SR 407 near Port St. John.
Firefighters used water hoses and fire picks to put out plumes of smoke still lit as a result of the ragging brush fire that erupted early Saturday afternoon. Candice Stevenson with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, who manages the refuge, says she's thankful the brush fire was contained within their fire lines.
"The fire that started was within one of our burn units, so the thousands acres or so that was actually burned was all contained within our fire lines,, so that helps in getting the equipment in and helps contain the fire," Stevenson said.
The flames began to spark just behind the Fay Lake Recreation Area in West Port St. John just before 2 p.m. Saturday. More than 20 fire trucks and over 50 firefighters were deployed to the front lines of the fire by Saturday evening.
Investigators still say they don't know exactly what sparked the fire to erupt, stopping short of speculating an exact cause.
"It could have been some recreational vehicles or I don't know if it was fireworks or what the calls were at this point, but its still under investigation," said Candice Stevenson.
The brush fire caused SR 407 to be shut down for more than 17 hours because the smoke caused visibility concerns along the highway. It was re-opened just before 9 a.m. Sunday morning.
Fire Officials say they will be heavily monitoring the area for at least the next two weeks.