PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Nearly two dozen Florida homes have been evacuated because of a 600-acre wildfire that grew rapidly overnight because of downed trees from Hurricane Michael.
Authorities say the fire broke out Saturday in the Panhandle about 10 miles east of Panama City and quickly grew to 668 acres by Sunday afternoon. At least 35 structures are in danger.
Amy Carter tells the News Herald "our house was destroyed in Hurricane Michael, and now this." She and her husband had their car packed with some sentimental items Sunday in case they had to flee.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried's office says 23 firefighters, multiple bulldozers, fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters are working to contain the blaze. Strong winds are pushing the fire toward the south, but light rain is helping rescue efforts.
Fried said in a statement that the "wildfire is a tragic reminder of the importance of disaster relief and clearing the 72 million tons of downed trees left in Hurricane Michael's wake."
UPDATE: Bay County wildfire is now 668 acres and 50% contained. Firefighting crews continuing to work. Commissioner @NikkiFriedFL, @FLForestService State Forester, others will brief media Mon 10 AM CST (11 AM EST); credentialed media RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.— FL Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (@FDACS) April 1, 2019
The #AllantonRoadFire is now estimated at 500 acres with zero percent containment. 20 homes have been evacuated. @FLForestService and @BayCountyEM firefighters are making an aggressive stand but strong northerly winds are pushing the fire hard to the south. pic.twitter.com/IvT08l0WMj— FFS_Chipola (@FFS_Chipola) March 31, 2019