JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Firefighters tackled a brush fire, between 3 to 5 acres in size, on the Southside on Tuesday and will be standing by overnight to make sure it doesn't come back to life.
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department says they will be on fire watch overnight with an engine truck in case as a safety precaution.
What started small quickly grew in size. Melissa Linkous, one of the first witnesses, immediately called for help.
"We were driving down St. Johns Bluff, my father-in-law and I, and we noticed over there a small little fire,” said Linkous, pointing toward the woods.
"There was nobody on the scene yet, so I pulled over and called 911 and let them know there was a fire that was spreading really fast,” said Linkous.
With winds blowing around 20 knots, the fire burning on St. Johns Bluff Road between Beach Boulevard and Alden Road jumped and spread.
St. Johns Bluff Road was entirely engulfed in thick white smoke, forcing police to shut down the street for a period of time in both directions.
"It can be a discarded cigarette. It can be anything,” said Jacksonville Fire Chief Martin Senterfitt. “But once it starts, it can be tough to put out because the winds are blowing so hard."
Fire crews stationed themselves in the front yard of Eastcoast Land Care, Damian Nunes' family business.
"You can't go in my front door without a cloud of smoke following you in,” said Nunes. “I’m worried that all the stuff my father worked so hard for could be gone, just like that!”
Firefighters worked throughout the day to battle the flames and protect the neighboring structures. According to the Division of Forestry, the fire was believed to be started by a person.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, there was no damage to any buildings in the area or injuries. But conditions were expected to stay smoky for the next several days.
Senterfitt told Action News this fire could be just a foreshadowing of what’s to come if this dry weather continues.
“The message for everybody over the next 4-5 days is that the fire behavior is going to be really tough on us. What we're asking everybody to do is be very careful, wild land fire is a real danger this week and we want everybody to be aware of that,” said Senterfitt.
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