Firefighters Battle Brush Fire in Southwest Miami-Dade

Dangerous and fast moving brush fire put out in Southwest Miami-Dade

A three-alarm brush fire raced through several acres of tinder dry trees and bushes late Monday, coming within a flame stroke of a dozen homes in Southwest Miami-Dade County.

But Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews, used to brush fires in this exact spot year after year, dropped more than a dozen giant buckets of water lifted by a helicopter putting out 90 percent of the fire within an hour.

Still, the regular recurrence of dangerous and fast-moving brush fires in the area of 147th Avenue and 17th Street makes homeowners here unsettled at best.

And it is not just Monday's dry and windy conditions that make it so risky. Nor is it the ATV riders who fail to cover their exhaust pipes.

"This area is a hot spot for off road vehicles, people with off road vehicles," said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Arnold Piedrahita. "Historically, people might not have a spark arrester on the muffler of their ATVs."

Experts say the overgrown non-native trees and bushes that outgrow the Florida trees and bushes actually throw off the balance of nature so much that it can become even dryer.

Much of the land in what's often called "the buffer zone" between built neighborhoods and more pristine Everglades ecosystem are often cleared long ago. Sometimes they sit unused waiting for financing or a rebounding economy, or even a market demand for more homes.

But requirements that those acres be returned to a more natural setting of Florida trees and bushes works remarkably well, say experts, at maintaining more moisture. But it can be expensive.

There were no injuries in the brush fire.

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