Florida wildfires force evacuations

Large wildfires have raged in the Florida Panhandle in the past few days, forcing authorities to evacuate more than 1,100 houses and a veterans’ nursing home.

Firefighters are battling the nearly 900-acre Adkins Avenue fire and the 13,000-acre Bertha Swamp Road fire, both near Panama City.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state had “all hands on deck” in battling the blazes, and officials said that between Friday and Sunday they had dropped more than 103,000 gallons of water on the Adkins Avenue fire, now about 40 percent contained. The Bertha Swamp Road fire is only 10 percent contained.

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Are wildfires common in Florida? The Florida Forest Service said there were 171 wildfires burning in Florida on Monday. Windy weather is driving the fires near Panama City, and FFS spokesman Joe Zwierzchowski noted they are burning in an area hit by Hurricane Michael in 2018.

“That storm hit as a Category 5, and it left a lot of dead, downed trees that are now serving as fuel for those wildfires,” Zwierzchowski said.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2022, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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