Please note: This is a wildfire update for Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties provided by State officials.
NEW FIRE - HUTCHINS ROAD FIRE (Springhill area): Florida Forest Service crews discovered yet another wildfire, this one Friday morning along Hutchins Road in the Springhill area of northern Santa Rosa County.
Smoke was called in by an FFS employee and a subsequent climb of one the fire towers revealed the 14th wildfire in the past three days for the Blackwater District.
Crews responded with tractor/plow units and the fire is 100% contained at 27 acres.
PUTNAM ROAD FIRE (East Milton): Florida Forest Service crews and local fire departments battled the 30-acre Putnam Road Fire into the night using bulldozers and a Forest Service helicopter. The helicopter dropped 80 buckets of water on the fire. At 300 gallons a drop, that’s 24,000 gallons. That combined with the efforts of five bulldozer operators and local fire departments, helped slow the fire as it moved through thick, swampy terrain. The fire is 80% contained.
No homes were threatened as the fire broke out on an undeveloped block of land between Radio and Putnam roads.
Crews remained on scene over night to monitor and firefighters are back at it this morning working to improve lines and put out any hot spots that might be lingering.
Cause is unknown at this time.
168 FIRE (Bratt, Escambia County): An illegal debris burn is to blame for a 2-acre fire in north Escambia County. FFS crews and local fire departments were able to keep the blaze to a minimum. 100% contained.
AVALON HANGAR FIRE: It is 155 (new measurement) acres and 90% contained.
Florida Forest Service crews continue to monitor, improve lines and mop-up some of the interior smokes. Firefighters dealt with flare up yesterday but the fire made no significant advances. Smoke will persist in the area for the coming days and motorists and residents are urged to be aware of firefighters working in the area.
No homes are threatened at this time but 25 homes along Michael Drive were threatened yesterday and residents were put on notice that evacuations were a possibility.
The cause of this fire is under investigation.
BERRYDALE FIRES: Seven fires totaling almost 100 acres are likely arson fires and crews have all but one of these fires contained.
The largest fire, the Davis Road Fire, is 90% contained and roughly 30 acres.
Crews are back on scene this morning working to improve lines, quell hot spots and trying to contain the last of these fires.
These fires are believed to be arson caused and possibly linked to the Indian Ford Road Fires. Anyone with information on any arson caused wildfires is asked to call 1-8000-342-5869. Callers may remain anonymous and could earn up to $5,000 if their tip leads to an arrest.
INDIAN FORD FIRES: Two fires broke out between 3:15 and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and have burned an estimated 120 acres off Indian Ford and Henderson Smith Roads and are 90% contained.
Crews will work to continue containment and improve lines today.
WEATHER: Today is a touch better than yesterday though strong winds will persist. Generally cloudy conditions will help keep the humidity up which will aid firefighting efforts but strong localized wind gust could minimize the benefits. While there is rain in the forecast, it is unlikely that any significant amount will fall in our area and we will not see much relief.
NOTES: Residents are still asked not to burn any yard waste. It’s far too dry, far too dangerous and our resources need to focus on the existing fires.
Total active fires in Blackwater District: 21
Total new fires since 5/29/13: 14 – 10 on 5/29