North Fort Myers brush fire sparked by tree on power lines

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

A brush fire torched Ian-toppled trees in North Fort Myers on Friday afternoon, making it tough for fire crews to battle the flames.

The fire sparked off Slater Road in North Fort Myers near I-75, causing smoke to billow across the interstate, slowing down traffic. The Florida Forest Service says the fire totals 15 acres and was 95% percent contained as of 9 p.m. Friday night.

Florida Forest Service says the fire began when a tree made contact with power lines.

The assistant chief from the North Fort Myers Fire Department, John Manson, said crews have a containment line dug out all around the brush fire.

North Fort Myers brush fire. (Credit: Shared with WINK News)

“I believe it started sometime right at 11 a.m. It started, they believe, with an electric line broke, fell down, sparked a fire. Our department came down here along with forestry. They started cutting some fire brakes around there. And with the wind blowing, it just kept jumping and jumping until what we have right here,” said Manson.

It’s been all hands on deck to prevent this fire from spreading further and jumping the interstate.

A helicopter from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office made pass after pass, trying to help fight the flames.

“It started back there by the houses on the south side. But now, all the wind is blowing it away from there. So, at this time, there are containments around there. We will be leaving trucks here all night. I was informed [Florida Highway Patrol] was going to be monitoring I-75,” Manson said.

North Fort Myers brush fire. (Credit: Shared with WINK News)

Thanks to Ian, the trees in this densely wooded area were a mangled mess, and that made it more challenging to contain the fire sooner.

“What it looks like here, it was a bunch of Australian Pines that got all twisted up from the hurricane, bunch of trees that are down. So, it made accessibility really hard to get to it in the beginning. And that’s what’s burning right now. It’s going to be like that for some time now,” said Manson.

Because this fire is far from out, crews will remain through the night to continue their mop-up duty, putting out hot spots. Crews are expected to remain on the scene for the next one to three days to make sure this fire doesn’t continue sparking back up and spreading.

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