10 Die On Florida Interstate Due To Wildfire/Fog Conditions

This is hard to understand. The Florida Highway Patrol had closed the road earlier in the evening because of a combination of fog and smoke from a wildfire that had been burning for days. The smallish fire had burned a total of 65 acres by Sunday morning.  According to numerous news accounts motorists piled one by one into the blinding mix of fog and smoke directly into other trucks and cars.
Why was the Interstate open? Where were the escorts or pilot vehicles? In 2008 a similar crash with numerous fatalities occurred on Interstate 4, just south of the Sunday crash site due to smoke from a wildfire.
I’m baffled how this wildfire was allowed to burn for days or weeks. Even allowing this may be bog material there is no reason a roadside fire with associated smoke drift should be allowed to burn unabated. I know for fact in California the fire would have been cold as soon as possible, no question. Additionally in California there is close communication between state fire officials and California Highway Patrol officials. Fire and CHP will never open a roadway until conditions are considered safe.

2 Comments

  • Mike Mora says:

    Thank you for the information Ranger Jake. 

  • Rangerjake72 says:

    the fire was burning in what’s known as Paines Prairie, which is a swamp. Due to the prevailing drought conditions, the organic materials that are normally underwater are exposed and dried out, which is whats burning, and creates smoke. The fire was contained Saturday evening, but continues burning through the muck in the swamp (until it reaches water. The Florida Forest Service and local fire departments are actively working the muck fire but that requires thousands upon thousands of gallons of water applied.. the Forest Service routinely notifies FHP about smoke and potential impacts upon roadways, but it is up to FHP to close the roads, and for how long, FFS can only request them and ask for smoke signs to be placed

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Mike Morales

Retired Cal Fire/CDF Fire Captain

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