While the world is burning with concern about COVID-19 citizens of the Florida panhandle are fleeing for their lives amid massive wildfires, for according to the Pensacola News Journal, thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate and many homes have been threatened or destroyed by the flames.
Fueled by high winds and low humidity, the Five Mile Swamp Fire raged out of control Wednesday, leading to evacuation orders for up to 1,100 Milton residents.
The fire, which began as a prescribed burn on private property Monday that got out of control, was at 250 acres and 40% contained Wednesday morning. But drought conditions and a northerly wind stoked the flames, and by Wednesday afternoon, the fire had burned an untold number of acres and was nowhere near contained.
“This is a significant fire event,” said Joe Zwierzchowski, spokesman for the Florida Forest Service. “Deteriorating weather conditions, changes in the wind, a strong north wind and extremely low humidity are allowing this fire to grow.”
Jimmy Patronis, the state of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal, tweeted Wednesday evening that the fire had grown to more than 2,000 acres. (source)