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Hundreds flee central Florida fires

May 12, 2008|Etan Horowitz | Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel

Wildfires in central Florida on Sunday shut down Interstate 95 and other major roads, forced the evacuation of hundreds of coastal residents, and kept firefighters, deputies, relief workers and state troopers on alert throughout the night.

More of the same is expected today as high winds, dry conditions and record-high temperatures fuel the blazes in Volusia and Brevard counties.

Winds of up to 40 mph stoked the fires that burned nearly 3,000 acres in the two counties, forcing authorities to evacuate at least 400 homes in Cocoa, Palm Bay and Daytona Beach, where residents had little time to pack up important belongings and flee.

Shelters were opened in both counties.

There were no reports of widespread damage. At least one home and one commercial building in Brevard County were damaged.

Officials in Palm Bay said several brush fires that started Sunday in that city were of suspicious origin.

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