OKEECHOBEE — The Florida Forest Service along with Okeechobee County Fire Rescue responded Sunday afternoon to a reported fire in Northwest Okeechobee County near Northwest 144th Avenue and Northwest 286th Street. On arrival FFS and FD crews were quickly engaged on a fast-moving grass/brush fire that was threatening several homes in the rural community.
Initially arriving crews faced a rapidly spreading fire being pushed by high winds through drought-stressed grass and brush. One of the initially arriving FFS dozers began its attack in an effort to limit the spread of the fire and keep it from encroaching on homes in the area; the dozer was quickly overrun by the fire and subsequently destroyed. The FFS firefighter operating the dozer was unharmed thanks to the quick actions of Okeechobee County FD Firefighters working alongside the FFS Firefighters.
The Doubleside fire is currently at 450 acres and is 80% contained. No homes were destroyed, there was significant damage to the electrical infrastructure for the community, and several small outbuildings were destroyed. FFS Firefighters are on the fire this morning improving firelines where needed and mopping up.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests, provides management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests, while protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com.
For questions about burn authorizations and wildfire prevention, please contact your local Florida Forest Service:
Martin County 772-221-4045; Saint Lucie County 772-468-3915; Indian River County 772-778-5085; Glades County 863-674-4000; Highlands County 863-655-6407; Okeechobee County 863-467-3221.
The Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.