Hunt For Arsonists In Florida

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Palm Bay, Fla. (AP) Schools are going to be closed again today in Palm Bay, Florida, because of all the smoke from wildfires.

Major highways, including a 34-mile stretch of I-95, have been shut down periodically because of fires that have gutted more than 15 square miles and destroyed at least 40 homes. Authorities suspect arson in many of them and have set up a special task force
To catch culprits described as “a trophy person,” somebody likely to brag about setting a fire.

The damage is being made even worse because the flames are being fueled by waxy vegetation, including palm trees that burn while they're still green. On top of that, development has prevented the usual controlled burns that are used to cut back vegetation.

Florida's emergency management director says the fire problem really won't be over until the state gets some badly needed rain.

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