700 Evacuated, Air Warnings Sparked by Blaze in Everglades

From Associated Press

Runaway Everglades brush fires sent thick black smoke across the Miami area today, prompting health warnings and an order to evacuate 700 aliens from a detention camp.

“I thought my garage was on fire this morning, the smoke was so heavy,” said Anna Nasher, who lives in suburban Coral Gables.

The National Weather Service advised people with asthma, emphysema and other respiratory problems to stay indoors.


“It’s very serious. We’ve got an emergency,” said Perry Rivkind, district director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Rivkind this morning ordered the evacuation of aliens from the Krome Avenue Detention Center on the edge of the Everglades as a brush fire advanced to within a mile. But by early afternoon, the aliens were still awaiting buses.

Rivkind said the immigrants would be taken to the Bobby Maduro Baseball Stadium, which recently was used as a home for Nicaraguan refugees. But City Manager Cesar Odio suggested that they might be transferred to a facility in Texas.

Smoke from fires about 20 miles away, including 3,000 burning acres of dried-out saw grass, blocked the subtropical sun and slowed traffic.