Florida Panhandle Wildfire Forces Evac of Areas Still Recovering from Hurricane Michael

March 7, 2022

Hundreds of residents near Panama City, Florida, were forced to evacuate from a wildfire that destroyed at least two homes and damaged others in an area still recovering from Hurricane Michael in 2018.

Local news sites reported officials said that hundreds of thousands of acres of trees, felled during the hurricane, along with dry air and high winds created favorable conditions for the fire in Bay County.

Some 200 firefighters and emergency workers from around the Florida Panhandle worked through the night this weekend. As of Saturday morning, the 1,500-acre Adkins Avenue Fire was 30% contained, the Florida Forest Service said.

At least 600 homes had been evacuated by Saturday morning, but that figure was expected to grow as new neighborhoods were placed under evacuation orders throughout the day.

Hurricane Michael was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and only the fourth on record, when it hit Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base in October 2018. The hurricane caused 16 deaths and about $25 billion in damage across its path, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It also left behind 2.8 million acres of broken and uprooted trees in the Florida Panhandle, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said at a news conference, according to ABC News and the Associated Press.

“Hurricane Michael left an additional threat to our communities — wildfires,” Fried said. “Wildfires are never easy control. This added fuel and dense pockets of vegetation from Hurricane Michael will increase the intensity of wildfires.”

Topics Florida Catastrophe Natural Disasters Wildfire Hurricane

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