Florida fire consumes 1,400 acres and continues to grow

More than 600 homes have been evacuated in Bay County on the Florida Panhandle as a fast-moving wildfire that has been burning since Fri...

More than 600 homes have been evacuated in Bay County on the Florida Panhandle as a fast-moving wildfire that has been burning since Friday afternoon continues to resist containment efforts.

As of Saturday afternoon, 24 hours after the Adkins Avenue Fire started near Panama City, Florida, it had burned more than 1,400 acres and was 30% contained, the Florida Forest Service said. said on Twitter.

Other evacuation orders have been in place since Friday. In a statement released Saturday morning, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said on facebook that residents of nearby Bylsma Manor Estates were to “gather your belongings and leave”.

The blaze was caused by someone burning debris in a yard, Bay County spokeswoman Valerie Sale said Saturday.

Bay County issued an evacuation order Friday that is still in effect. A burning ban has also been issued in the area and neighboring counties, Ms. Sale said. Governor Ron DeSantis released a Executive Decree declaring a state of emergency in Bay County Friday night.

At least two houses were completely destroyed and no less than 12 were damaged, said Ms. Sale. She said that number is likely to increase.

No injuries or deaths were reported, she said. An emergency shelter for evacuees has been set up at Hiland Park Baptist Church in Panama City.

The Bay County Emergency Management Office received a call at 1:59 p.m. Friday that a fire was spiraling out of control. For more than a day, multiple county departments were involved in efforts to contain the flames, Ms. Sale said.

According to a Publish on the Bay County Emergency Services Facebook Page, more than 200 firefighters from Bay County and throughout the Panhandle “are on the ground establishing containment lines and protecting structures.” The Florida Forest Service has 70 firefighters who operate bulldozers, tractors, engines, and other heavy equipment on the ground.

There are no estimates as to when the fire will be fully contained as conditions in the area have made it difficult to control the flames, Ms Sale said.

“The problem we are facing is that it is very, very dry and very windy and the humidity is very low,” Ms Sale explained. Bay County also has debris left over from Hurricane Michael in 2018, she said.

“We have thousands of hectares of trees that have died and have since dried out,” creating problematic conditions for a fire, she added.

The Tallahassee National Weather Service said there will most likely be reduced visibility due to fog and smoke from the fire and warned that the dry conditions had caused “a slight increase” in wildfires in the state.

Saturday afternoon, hours after the Florida Forest Service warned that “fire danger levels are high across the state,” the agency posted an update on Twitter saying there were 148 active wildfires burning 7,100 acres across the state.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Florida fire consumes 1,400 acres and continues to grow
Florida fire consumes 1,400 acres and continues to grow
Newsrust - US Top News
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