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Big Pine Key Can't Catch A Break — Brush Fire Burns 100 Acres, Destroys One Home

A brushfire has burned about 100 acres and destroyed one home on Big Pine Key — an island that saw some of the worst devastation from Hurricane Irma.

The fire started Sunday afternoon on Hibiscus Avenue and quickly spread, consuming dead and dry vegetation left from the storm. One home was destroyed.

At least 60 firefighters from departments from Key West to Miami-Dade County responded. No cause has been determined. The state Fire Marshal's office, Monroe County Fire-Rescue, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Florida Forest Service are investigating, according to Monroe County.

No one has been reported hurt in the fire, reportedly 40 percent contained on Monday.

Big Pine Key is home to the endangered Key deer — a population that weathered a Category 4 hurricane and a screwworm outbreak over the last two years. Most deer appear to be moving out of the way of the fire, but one fawn was rescued by a Monroe County firefighter.

"He was all by himself and running for his life into the fire," Jen Shockley said, according to a Monroe County press release.

The deer was given oxygen and water and wrapped in a sheet. It was uninjured, but the firefighters kept it in a tanker until the fire was under control in that area. At about 3 a.m. it was released in a nearby unburned area.

The deer are generally able to move around and get out of the fire's way, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which runs the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine.

Credit Monroe County Fire-Rescue
Monroe County Fire-Rescue Firefighter Jen Shockley saved a Key deer from the flames Sunday on Big Pine Key.

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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