High winds and low humidity are believed to have sparked the flames.

Just as the state of Florida has begun to lift social distancing restrictions and some have ventured to the beaches, Mother Nature has handed the Sunshine state another hard blow—two actually. Two separate wildfires are now burning in the Florida Panhandle. The two fires are between Pensacola and Panama City Beach and have already caused damage to some buildings and evacuations of some areas.

On Monday, May 4, high winds and low humidity sparked the Five Mile Swamp fire in Santa Rosa County. The Florida Department of Agriculture reported yesterday that the fire has grown ten times in size. The Florida Forest service deployed 18 tractor plow units, multiple fixed wing aircraft, and helicopter units in addition to the many local fire departments that have responded to fight the fire. As of 10AM EST this morning, the fire is 35% contained. The fire spans approximately 2,000 acres and they believe 12 structures have been lost to the flames at this point. “This is an extremely dangerous and fast-moving wildfire situation that is evolving rapidly, so everyone in the affected area should follow directions from state and local officials,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in a press release from the DOA.  The smoke is clearly visible on the weather radar.

The second fire, the Musset Bayou Fire, started Wednesday in Walton County near the community of Santa Rosa Beach. It’s estimated that this fire spreads over 575 acres and is currently at 60% contained. As of midday Thursday, 33 structures north and south of U.S. 98 have been lost. Highway 98 remains closed at this time.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will visit Santa Rosa County today to assess the situation and request necessary federal aid. We are thinking of all our friends in the Panhandle and hoping this fire is contained soon.