More than 1,000 homes evacuated as wildfire spreads in the Florida Panhandle
BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/Gray News) - Residents have been asked to leave their homes due to a wildfire in the Florida Panhandle.
At about 11:30 a.m. Friday, firefighters responded to a fire they believe was started as someone burned outdoor trash in the area. Initial reports said the fire was between 30 and 40 acres in an area of Bay County, Florida.
The Bay County Emergency Services reported the wildfire now spans more than 1,400 acres and continues to grow, according to WJHG. The Florida Forest Service reported about 30% of the fire has been contained.
An evacuation order is in effect and residents are not allowed to go back to their homes.
More than 1,000 homes are affected by the evacuation orders and the Florida Department of Emergency Management reported eight homes were engulfed by the fire.
No injuries or fatalities have been reported at this time.
There is currently no timeline of when residents will be able to return home, according to Florida Fire Service.
Governor Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for Bay County, and a local state of emergency has been declared.
A county-wide burn ban is also in effect.
More than 200 firefighters from various areas of the Panhandle are working this fire. The Florida Fire Service said they would be using planes and helicopters on Saturday to help combat the flames.
High winds and low humidity are contributing to the spread of the fire.
Wildfires can move fast, especially with the area experiencing dry conditions in the past week. Debris from Hurricane Michael that is still in the area can also cause additional issues.
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