Three dead in five-crash pile up on Florida’s I-95 caused by ‘prescribed burn’ smoke

Motorists had near-zero visibility after smoke combined with fog along the I-95 corridor south of Daytona Beach

Thick fog covers Florida's I-95 during multi-crash pile-up

At least three people have died in a series of pile-ups along the I-95 corridor in Florida in zero visibility conditions early Thursday morning.

Authorities said smoke from a “prescribed burn off” combined with fog to create a near blackout for motorists along the busy interstate in Volusia County.

Follow live updates on the I-95 pile up

Both north and southbound lanes saw multiple crashes at around 1.30am, Florida Highway Patrol Lt Kim Montes said.

“What we now know happened is there was almost zero visibility in the area based on smoke and fog that had mixed together and visibility dropped to zero,”  the spokesperson said.

Spectrum News 13 reported four separate crashes involving 11 vehicles in the northbound lane, which resulted in one fatality and many injuries.

In the southbound lane, a six-vehicle pile-up involving four semi-trailers, an SUV and a van left two drivers dead, Ms Montes said.

A child who was airlifted to Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children was in stable condition, and multiple people were taken to a Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

One of the semi-trucks caught fire, causing a huge fireball to erupt.

On Wednesday, the City of Edgewater’s Fire Department notified the public of a controlled burn west of the I95 and said some smoke may be visible if the wind changes direction.

The National Weather Service had also warned on Twitter of very low visibility, issuing a dense fog advisory for coastal Volusia County near Edgewater on Wednesday.

For drivers traveling along the interstate at highway speeds, such conditions can be disorienting.

“It’s totally fine and then you run into a wall of that smog. You get an incredibly sharp drop in visibility,” WFTV meteorologist Brian Shields said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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