Foresters: Three wildfires burning in St. Johns | News

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Foresters: Three wildfires burning in St. Johns
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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Two wildfires merged into one as firefighters tried to gain the upper hand battling the blazes in the RiverTown area of St. Johns County.

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What's now being called the RiverTown Fire has burned 84 acres and is 80% contained, Florida Forest Service spokesman Greg Dunn told First Coast News.

Dunn said flames crept as close as 400 yards to the nearest home.

A second fire in the Bombing Range area burned about 40 acres.

Monday night smoke continued to fill neighborhoods.

Heading down Greenbriar Dr. and State Road 13, flashing signs warned of smoke ahead Monday evening. We were there as crews worked to gain control of two of three wildfires that had merged Monday evening.

The Florida Forest Service said St. John's County is one of the driest spots in the state; add in hot temperatures and you've got the perfect environment for wildfires.

Experts believed lightning strikes over the weekend sparked three wildfires. One at Bombing Range Fire and two others near RiverTown. The two fires at RiverTown eventually ran into each other creating a massive blaze that burned more than 82 acres.

"I've been smelling all the smoke in my room and I came out to take a look at it," neighbor Cassadi Devane said.

Smoke from the wildfire at RiverTown crept out of the woods, down the roads, and rose well above the trees.

"This is really bad," Devane added.

Ashes from the wildfire fell like snowflakes onto the driveway of Monica Wrotten's home.

"I think everybody is nervous. I think when you get a fire this close to the house and you see smoke billowing up through the forest that's not very far away, it's a little nerve-racking," Wrotten said.

Wrotten turned on her sprinklers to wet dry spots in her yard. The family owns horses so they got a trailer ready in case they have to move the horses from a nearby stable.

The family also leases some of the land that was burned by the fire. Wrotten said although wildfires are dangerous they are a necessary nuisance.

"It's probably a good thing for the wildlife. It's good for the turkey's it's good for the deer. they need the open area. they need the open land. they need the fresh grass that comes up through it. So, it's not all bad. It's scary but it's not all bad."

By late Monday night The Forest service had about 80% of the fire contained.

Greg Dunn with The Florida Forestry Service reported crews made progress on the fires as night fell in the area.

Flying embers could be an issue and cause one of the fires to spread and are likely to be an issue for days, Dunn said.

No home evacuations were expected.

Officials suggest that homeowners in the area remove brush or any type of vegetation from their homes as a precaution.

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