Wildfire burning in Merritt Island

- The 4,738-acre Black Point Fire in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was 77 percent contained Sunday night, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

But with thunderstorms in the forecast over the next few days, officials say they aren’t breathing easy.
 
“We’re pretty concerned and the reason why is we’re actually under what we call severity due to the drought conditions,” said agency spokeswoman Candice Stevenson.

Dry conditions statewide have led to the most active wildfire season since 2011, according to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

This month Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency due to the large number of wildfires burning statewide.
 
Even with rain in the forecast, Stevenson said officials don’t expect any relief from the dry conditions and storms could bring more trouble than they’re worth.
 
“Many times out in this area we get more lightening and we don’t get enough rain to counteract that," he said.

There are 36 people working on the fire that is burning near the Black Point Wildlife Drive, Stevenson said.

Twenty-six of them came from Oklahoma, Colorado, Georgia and Mississippi. 

“We have firefighters on staff to be ready for any initial attack on fires as we go through the next few days looking at these thunderstorms,” Stevenson.

Officials believe the Black Point Fire was started by someone, Stevenson said.

The popular nature trail remained closed to the public Sunday night. 

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