'I just want to weep' — Big Pine Key brush fire threatening homes, only half contained – Miami Herald
Two days after a brush fire broke out on Big Pine Key, eventually burning more than 100 acres, Christine Dalton-Godlewski still can’t return to her home.
“I hightailed it out of there. I grabbed my daughter and my dog,” she said Tuesday, recounting the tall flames in her backyard on Sunday afternoon. “It’s so amazing our house didn’t burn up.”
It’s still a dangerous neighborhood off 18th Street, she said, and her insurance agent said her family could be displaced, living at a Key West hotel, for up to two weeks.
Dalton-Godlewski, 46, a financial analyst, says she is one of the lucky ones: Her raised home avoided the three feet of water that seeped into her lot during Hurricane Irma last September. So far, her home is safe from the burning embers that continue to threaten houses.
For many residents of Big Pine, the brush fire is another beating after Irma pounded the island.
“I just want to weep,” Dalton-Godlewski said, when she surveys Big Pine. “So many people are living in RVs on their property and still so many homes don’t have roofs. Even I forget and I live here.”
“Irma is still a significant fact for 30 percent of the people who live on Big Pine,” Dalton-Godlewski said.
The brush fire is halfway contained but remains a threat to homes because it consumes such a large area of the island, Monroe County officials said Tuesday.
Containment means there is a barrier the fire won’t likely cross. Due to the small, gravel roads and combination of residences and rural areas, it’s difficult to make the area 100 percent contained until the fire is completely out.
Firefighters once again worked through the night on the fire, which broke out at about 2 p.m. Sunday and rapidly spread through neighborhoods.