Ashes from massive grass fire rain down as far north as Weston

Author: Ted Scouten / CBS Miami
weston fire
Credit: CBS Miami

More than 18,000 acres continue to burn west of Krome Avenue near the Miami-Dade, Broward County line raining down ashes as far north as Weston.

On Saturday morning, authorities said the fire was 60 percent contained, but dry weather conditions continued to feed the blaze.

David Rosenbaum, a mitigation specialist with the Florida Forest Service said crews are stationed around the massive grass fire but there aren’t many homes or businesses within miles, so they’re going to let it keep burning.

With Friday’s southerly winds, ash from fires drifted north.

Ash was falling on cars and people in Weston. White spots could be seen on hoods and windows.

“It was getting all over us and we were wiping it off, it was on our clothes,” said James Sanders.

He’s part of a winter guard group that was practicing outside for a competition.  They initially thought rain was heading their way, but quickly released what they were seeing and smelling was smoke.

“If you looked at our bag earlier it was all over, dusted everywhere.  It was just everywhere falling from the sky.  It came over with the dark clouds,” said Ghea Samual.

Roberto Hernandez said, “We’d be rehearsing and there would be some ash landing on me or getting into my mouth or my nose.

He noticed that smoke was affecting him.  “It just made me lose my breath a little more and when I would try to catch my breath it would hurt a little bit to breathe in and out. It would be like, sting a little bit,” he said.

Dr. Ari Sareli is a pulmonologist and chief of critical care at Memorial Healthcare System. “Patients with underlying lung disease like COPD and asthma as well as cardiovascular disease are particularly prone to those very small particles in the air,” Dr. Sareli said.

He knows that smoke can really impact people with underlying conditions.  “If you develop symptoms stay indoors.  If you must go outside and you have an N95 mask, wear that N95 mask and remember good filtration systems for air and HEPA filters do protect you during these times,” he said

South Florida’s dry conditions also fueled a brush fire in west Miami-Dade earlier this week.

More than 627 acres have been burned in the area of SW 8 Street and SW 137 Avenue.

The fires more than doubled in size in one after jumping a canal.

According to the Florida Forest Service, as of late Thursday, they were about 95 percent contained.

Smoke from the fires can cause breathing problems.

Dr. Safiya Lyn-Lassiter recommends “minimizing exposure to outside air, like closing your doors and windows” as well as “utilizing the AC in the house” to deal with the stifling smoky conditions.

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