Wildfires rage in Florida panhandle, more than 1K homes left

Thousands of Florida residents were seeking shelter from raging wildfires that swept across their state’s western panhandle Saturday.

More than 12,100 acres were ablaze as downed trees from 2018’s Hurricane Michael, strong winds and low humidity created “the perfect storm” for the fires, officials said.

More than 1,000 homes were evacuated, according to the Panama City News Herald, as two were destroyed and a dozen others were damaged, officials said.

Firefighters saved scores of other houses, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a Panama City press conference.

“This is a really significant, fast-moving fire,” said DeSantis, a Republican.

The largest of the wildfires, the Swamp Road fire, covered 8,000 acres and was 10 percent contained Saturday afternoon, the Florida Forest Service said.

It started in Gulf County Friday and had spread to Bay and Calhoun counties, officials said.

The Adkins Avenue fire covered about 1,400 acres and was 30 percent contained, officials said.

Emily Hamric pulls water from her neighbors' private pool to clear burning areas in Panama City, Florida on March 5, 2022.
Emily Hamric pulls water from her neighbor’s pool in Panama City, Florida, on March 5, 2022.
Mike Fender / USA Today Network via REUTERS
Randall Shuman leaves his home on Whitehead Boulevard with a safe he was able to save from the ashes after the Adkins Fire tore through the area in Panama City, Florida.
Approximately a dozen houses around Panama City were burned during the raging wildfires.
Mike Fender / USA Today Network via REUTERS
A fast-moving wildfire looms over homes outside of Panama City, Fla., Friday, March 4, 2022.
An aerial view shows the Swamp Road fire blazing through thousands of acres.
Mike Fender / News Herald via AP
Residents hurry to pour water on remaining hotspots after a large wildfire tore through homes in Panama City, Florida on March 5, 2022.
Residents hurry to pour water on remaining hotspots in Panama City, Florida, on March 5, 2022.
Mike Fender / News Herald via AP

That fire was sparked by someone burning trash in their yard, the local newspaper reported.

Officials had deployed a dozen tractor plow units as well as multiple helicopters, and burn bans were in effect.

With Post wires

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