I-95: Up in Smoke
Posted July 1, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE — Motorists and NASCAR drivers had to find alternate routes to travel in Florida on Thursday.
Heavy smoke shut down more than 100 miles of I-95 and US-1. Those closings spelled trouble for holiday travelers and this weekend's running of NASCAR's Pepsi 400.
Motorist heading down I-95 toward Florida will continue to face substantial delays. 125 miles of the interstate are closed from Jacksonville to south of Titusville because of raging wild fires and limited visibility.
Travelers will have to rely on maps and detours to get them through the area.
The American Automobile Association suggested that motorist call an updated phone message (1-800-342-3557) to get the latest closings. A Cumberland County AAA recommend that drivers fill their tanks before reaching the closings, and to call the number while in Georgia to prepare for detours in advance.
Thursday, the wildfires that are ravaging two Florida counties moved beyond the rural areas and headed toward cities. 35,000 people who fled their homes braced for the worst.
One man watched from an embankment as flames approached homes in the subdivision where he lives, near Ormond Beach. He said the flames appear to be headed right toward his back yard.
The wind reached speeds as high as 20 miles an hour, which pushed the flames eastward.
The fire is being fueled by pine and palmetto trees, and dry grass. Homes are threatened in dozens of developments along a 45-mile corridor.
Florida's governor said that he is begging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide more equipment -- including heavy bulldozers -- to clear fire breaks.
From staff and wire reports.