‘The perfect storm’: Massive wildfire forces evacuation of 600 homes in Florida Panhandle

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — State leaders are putting strike teams on standby, as firefighters battle a 1,400-acre wildfire in the Florida panhandle.

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The wildfire started Friday in Bay County after officials said someone sparked the fire by burning their trash.

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Residents in 600 homes in the Florida Panhandle were evacuated as a wildfire destroyed two houses and damaged 12 others, in an area that has spent the past three years recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael, officials said Saturday.

Photos: Massive wildfire forces evacuation of 600 homes in Florida Panhandle

Hundreds of thousands of acres of downed trees from the 2018 hurricane, along with low humidity and strong winds, have created “the perfect storm” for the hazardous fire conditions in Bay County, Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference outside a church in Panama City.

“This is not a surprise,” DeSantis said.

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More than 200 firefighters and emergency workers from throughout the Florida Panhandle worked overnight to strengthen containment lines and protect homes. As of Saturday morning, the 1,400-acre Adkins Avenue Fire was 30% contained, according to the Florida Forest Service.

The agency has deployed more than a dozen tractor plow units as well as multiple helicopters, officials said in a news release.

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Channel 9 will continue to monitor this fire and provide updates on Eyewitness News

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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