Palm Bay – Firefighters from Palm Bay Fire Rescue worked multiple brush fires simultaneously Monday evening.
The first fire was reported near Madden Ave and Pompano St SE just East of the Bombardier Corporation. The fire involved approximately 2 city blocks.
While working that fire another column of smoke could be seen to the south. Subsequently firefighters located a second, larger brush fire near St Andre Blvd and Warbler Ave SW.
That fire, described as 5-6 acres in size, was moving through heavy brush.
Palm Bay Fire Rescue called in a Brevard County Fire Rescue tanker to assist with a water supply.
In all 3 engines, 3 brush trucks, 2 tankers and command staff responded to the fires.
The fires were reported shortly before 5:00p.m. Both fires were knocked down near 6:00p.m.
According to radio traffic firefighters believe ATVs may have sparked the fires.
Unique landscape poses challenges for fire crews
It’s an area consisting of hundreds of miles of roads, but not a house is in sight.
There are few street signs, and without GPS it’s very easy to become disoriented.
The expansive area in SW Palm Bay known as “the compound” was built by General Development Corporation in the 1980s, but after GDC went bankrupt in 1991 the area was left much as it sits today.
Many of the lots in the compound are overgrown with dry brush.
The compound is a popular spot for radio control airplanes, model rockets, four wheelers, off-roading and street racing.
Many of the intersections are littered with the remnants of furniture, television sets, and past bonfires.
In addition to difficulties with navigation firefighters have to deal with a lack of any water supply. Fire crews use tankers to shuttle water from distant hydrants to the brush trucks on the fire lines.
The isolated nature of the compound also means many fires, both accidental and intentional, can go unreported for long periods of time allowing the fires to grow before firefighters can respond.