Two Separate Brush Fires In South Walton - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Two Separate Brush Fires In South Walton

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Not one, but two large brush fires broke out in South Walton, damaging more than 20 acres of land, in less than 24 hours.

The South Walton Fire District and four other fire agencies battled the blazes through the night.

Officials were able to execute a very quick evacuation of all the threatened areas, while they got the blaze under control.

The first call came in Thursday evening, around 4:30 PM.

"We got the call of what appeared to be a brush fire and it rapidly grew based on the humidity and wind," said Chief Ryan Crawford, South Walton Fire District.

The fire damaged about 10 acres of the woods near Mussett Bayou Road in Santa Rosa Beach. Crews were on scene for hours.

"Got it buttoned up, went home around 10 pm, then got a call around 3:30(am), we had another one," said Bruce Smith, Area Supervisor for Walton County from the Florida Department of Forestry.

The second fire threatened many homes and businesses in the vicinity of Nuit Road.

The South Walton Fire District, Florida Forest Service, Destin Fire Control District, Freeport Fire Department, Walton County Fire and the Walton County Sheriff's Office assisted while containing and extinguishing the blaze.

"The fire rapidly grew, started going to the west, we quickly dispatched more units to that area, request assistance from the Florida Forest Service and in a few hours we were able to get this thing contained," said Crawford.

Only one home was damaged and no one was injured. Even though the flames are extinguished, the danger still exists.

"Normally a fire is not raging at night time because the humidity goes up, but this morning the humidity was very low," said Smith. "Along with the gusty winds, there's potential for bad wildfires."

Once a fire starts, it's those conditions can send it spiraling out of control very quickly.

"Bon fires, warming fires, we urge people not to do that at this time because of dry conditions," said Smith.

"If you do see a fire of any size, call 9-1-1 immediately, so first responders can tackle it before it spreads.

"By all accounts, everyone who was involved did a great job doing what they do protecting property and mitigating the damage," said Crawford.

The Florida Forest Service is conducting investigations into the cause of the fires.

All individuals are strongly urged not to participate in any kind of outdoor during over the next few days.

Beach bonfire permits in Walton County are suspended for Friday and Saturday while the weather conditions are still a threat, they will re-evaluate over the weekend and decide whether or not bonfires will be allowed again on Sunday.