MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Firefighters continue to monitor a brush fire that started Sunday in southwest Miami-Dade County, burning more than 1,000 acres.
"That's why we're trying to hit it as hard as possible," Florida Forest Service Senior Forest Ranger Gabriel Llamas said.
The fire started near a canal and a heavily wooded area near Southwest Eighth Street between Southwest 137th and Southwest 177th avenues.
"A lot of workers couldn't breathe because of the smoke," El Palacio de los Jugos manager Javier Broche told Local 10 News.
Broche said the smoke was so intense that he was forced to close the restaurant on Southwest Eighth Street.
At one point, heavy smoke and low visibility forced the closure of Southwest Eighth Street.
No injuries were reported, and no homes or businesses were threatened.
Dry conditions and heavy winds made fighting the fire difficult.
"We've had very limited rainfall the past several months, our drought index is up there and then you put these high winds in, it really causes a possible disastrous situation," Florida Forest Service spokesman Scott Peterich said.
Peterich said the fire has scorched 1,065 acres and is 40 percent contained.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue worked with the Florida Forest Service to put out the fire by tackling hot spots by air and ground. Patches of brush continued to burn Monday morning.
"Once the sun cooks off some of the humidity and the cloud cover goes away, then the fire activity will start picking up again," Llamas said.
While gusty winds have been the biggest enemy for firefighters, the winds have also kept the flames away from homes and businesses.
"There's no lightning in the area so it was probably a human cause, but it's still under investigation," Llamas said. "Whether it was intentional or not, that area is popular with four-wheelers."
A second fire was reported Monday in the area of Southwest 118th Avenue and 226th Terrace. Forestry officials said the fire burned about two acres before firefighters arrived at the scene.
Firefighters are asking those with respiratory issues to stay indoors and to close all doors and windows because of the heavy smoke.