Pensacola, Florida – Firefighters in the northeast Florida strip have been battling wildfires that forced about 1,600 people to evacuate their homes, and a stretch of Interstate 10 was closed in both directions Thursday due to smoke, the reports said. authorities.
Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said at a press conference Thursday afternoon that firefighters were working nonstop to contain the wildfires.
“The threat is far from over and no rain is forecast,” Fried said. He asked residents to remain vigilant and “be ready for a wildfire to strike your neighborhood.”RELATED
In Santa Rosa County, located east of Pensacola, the 2,000-acre (800-hectare) fire caused nearly 1,100 evacuations Wednesday. Authorities said some of those residents, in areas south of Interstate 10, have been able to return to their homes. The others still did not receive authorization.
SOUTH WALTON FIRE: According to South Walton Fire District, there is a large, fast moving wildland fire in the MUSSETT BAYOU RD area. Avoid this area at this time. # 30a #sowal #destinflorida(?? Timothy Dean Scarborough) pic.twitter.com/JlZkMQvIXi
– Destin, Florida (@CityofDestin) May 7, 2020
The fire started Monday when a controlled burning by a private contractor got out of control, Fried explained. Conditions were perfect for fires: low humidity and strong winds.
“This is an extremely dangerous wildfire situation that is evolving rapidly, so everyone in the affected area should follow the instructions of state and local authorities,” Fried said.
He urged people in the area to pack a bag with the necessary items, including important documents, so that they can evacuate as quickly as possible if conditions arise.
Teams from other areas of Florida, such as Jacksonville, assist firefighters who have worked long hours since Monday.
Authorities have confirmed that 17 structures, including 13 houses, have so far been destroyed by the fire.
In neighboring Walton County, a 230-hectare (575-acre) fire caused approximately 500 people to evacuate. Local authorities said the fire consumed several structures and was 65% contained on Thursday morning. Fried said about 33 structures have been damaged so far.
At the moment there are no reports of victims.