Brush fire shuts down SR 44 between DeLand and New Smyrna Beach

- A brush fire shut down State Road 44 in Volusia County at Damascus Road on Thursday.   The closure is roughly half way between DeLand and New Smyrna Beach. 

The fast-moving fire grew to over 250 acres by late afternoon, according to the Florida Forestry Service, as helicopters dropped water from above and crews created fire lines below.  

The fire is located along both the north and south sides of State Road 44, which prompted authorities to close that road.  

DeLand resident Lilian Knox called 911 after she found the Damascus Road brush fire had reached a part of a fence on her 30-acre property.  She thought she could fight it, so she filled two barrels with water, but by the time she got back, the fire was already too far gone.

"So fast, it was crazy. I mean, it was in the swamp area before you knew it. If I hadn't seen it when it started at that point, who knows how far it would have gotten," she said.  "It would've gotten this room, it probably could've come to my house." .

"There are no structures in danger at this time," said Julie Allen with the Forestry Service. "It jumped [State Road] 44 in the initial stages of the fire, and it is currently moving north... and it is basically a wooded area."

"It's just so dry.  It's hot, the wind's blowing," said resident Pam McLaughlin.  "It concerning for sure."

By late Thursday, the fire was roughly 50 percent contained.  SR 44 will remain closed throughout the night in DeLand at Damascus Road, and at Pioneer Trail in New Smyrna Beach.  

Drought conditions has prompted Volusia County officials to issued a county-wide burn ban, which went into effect at midnight. 

 

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