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Holiday Brush Fire Chars Nearly 5,500+ Acres

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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Low humidity and gusty winds are contributing to a meandering brush fire burning in Everglades Holiday Park.

As of Friday afternoon, the Florida Forestry Service said the fire has chewed through nearly 5,500 acres but is 45 percent contained.

It was a monumental effort as firefighters battled to save the nearly two dozen structures at Mack's Fish Camp off Krome Avenue, which has been there since the 1930s.

The owners of the camp, brothers Keith and Marshall Jones, played a role in saving their legacy.

When the flames approached, they jumped in their airboats and created a fire break. By compressing the grass, they created a wall and held back the flames from spreading.

Marshall Jones said he's never seen a fire move so rapidly.

Holiday Fire
Brush fire burns at entrance to Mack's Fish Camp at Everglades Holiday Park (Source: CBS4)

At Everglades Holiday Park, which closed Thursday due to smoke and falling ash, things were back to normal on Friday.

"Everything is good with us, we're going fishing," said one visitor.

Airboat Tour operator Mitch Frachtman said 24 hours made a big difference.

"It's much better, the winds are blowing in the opposite direction, there's no smoke, and it's a beautiful day."

Brian Prybilla, who took the airboat tour, said it was a great morning.

"The skies were nice, clear skies, windier than expected, there was not smoke and the air seemed pretty good to me," he said.

A forecast shift in winds from the northwest to the north later today will blow the fire's smokeinto Miami-Dade county.

The National Weather Service has issued a Dense Smoke Advisory for inland Broward and inland Miami-Dade. It includes the Miccosukee Indian Reservation, Coral Springs, Sunrise, Davie, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Homestead, Miami, Hialeah, and Kendall. It's in effect until 8 a.m. Saturday.

The wildfire broke out Wednesday afternoon near the Holly Lake mobile home community off US 27 and Johnson Street. Fueled by hot and dry conditions, it spread to the north to Everglades Holiday Park.

The crew fighting the fire is expected to have a tough day on Friday due to the weather conditions. They could use some rain, but that's not in the forecast.

"Mother Nature is in charge of the fire. It's going to do what it's going to do. All we can do is back off, wait, and pick a plan," said Peterich.

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