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Firefighters and 3 Helicopters Contain Fire Near White Eagle Saloon; US 1 Open

| May 31, 2011

US1 South was blocked just south of the Palm Coast City Limit sign and north at Old Dixie Highway as smoke billowed from the fire near the White Eagle Saloon this afternoon. (FlaglerLive)

9 p.m. update: the last units left the scene at the White Eagle fire at 8:50 p.m., the fire put out but still producing smoke, and U.S. 1 reopened–with a caution to drivers about patches of smoke across the highway. The fire never jumped U.S. 1, Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said. He estimated the fire consumed some 15 to 20 acres. The 78 Road fire west of Espanola, meanwhile, is still burning but not expanding.

Monday’s fire in the empty wooded expanses just west of Espanola had grown to 320 acres by Tuesday afternoon when, just after 4 p.m., another large fire began sprawling near single-family homes and farms just north of the White Eagle Saloon, near U.S. 1. Three helicopters and at least seven fire trucks, including firefighters from the Florida Division of Forestry, the Palm Coast Fire Department and the Flagler County Fire Department, are attempting to keep the blaze from jumping US1 and traveling west.

The Bunnell and Flagler Beach fire departments were also on the scene.

“It’s large,” Mike Beadle, Palm Coast’s fire chief, said at 4:30 p.m. “I don’t know if it’s growing. It’s moving.” Beadle said firefighters had saved two structures.

“It’s putting up a lot of smoke right now,” Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said just before 5 p.m.. “It’s pushing pretty hard.” There was no size estimate of the fire yet. In a subdivision just north of the fire, residents were watering their roofs as they eyed the billowing black and gray smoke fold upward from behind thick pinewoods, while spotter planes and the helicopters crisscrossed the sky.

Laura Lynn, who lives on County Road 335, was at home just after 4 p.m. when, very suddenly, she looked up to see, just past a ridge of trees, the fire explode in front of her eyes. “Within 30 seconds, it grew so fast and serious I could not believe my eyes. It was black, black smoke and you could see the top of flames,” Lynn, who had two children and three cats at home, said.

“It was right here, we have trees in our backyard, it was right behind those trees—huge, just a huge fire. Since then they seem to be containing it. It’s not growing toward this direction,” Lynn said. “It was so ferocious, frighteningly ferocious. The fire department got right on it. It was amazing.” As soon as the firefighters got to the scene, Lynn noticed the blaze under some control.

Emergency services let her know she had to pack and be ready to leave. She realized she had not planned for the eventuality. She gathered laptops for the children’s school work, their musical instruments (a cello, a violin), her wedding ring, and she called her husband to ask him what papers to grab. Then she waited. (Her husband made it home in seven minutes.)

“We have a great community, all of our neighbors are communicating and looking after each other,” Lynn said. For now, she and the neighbors were staying put, as the fire was moving away from the neighborhood.

“It’s pretty much the same, it’s on the east side of US 1, we’re holding it there,” Petito said at 5:38 p.m. “A couple of spots on the west side but we got those.”

The fire vs. US1 at 5:30 p.m. (FlaglerLive)

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13 Responses for “Firefighters and 3 Helicopters Contain Fire Near White Eagle Saloon; US 1 Open”

  1. Laura says:

    In my crisis, I failed to mention that I love firefighters & pilots.
    They fought that monster down
    for us.

    I am so grateful for each man and woman
    that did their job on our behalf today.

    Through the trees, I see they are still fighting.

    Bring the rain.
    {{* *}}

  2. Barbara says:

    Flagler Beach Fire Department is on scene also.

  3. seaturtle33 says:

    Thankfully we have these firefighters and their services to protect our homes and our community. Just think of the devastation this fire could have caused had the fire dept. not responded so quickly and effectively to contain it.

  4. chase rogers says:

    bunnell fire dept. is also working to contain that fire.

  5. Mindy says:

    I live in this neighorhood right next to US1 and all I can say is THANKYOU to all the men and women that are putting this fire out and saving our homes. WE LOVE U!

  6. heybooboo says:

    Looks like the fire is dying down now that the winds have dropped and the onshore breeze is bringing moisture.

    Glad to hear the Lynns and their neighbors are OK and that so far there is no news of any homes being lost. TYL!

    Earlier this afternoon, my folks were very concerned when the fire popped up near their horse ranch. How do you evacuate 6 quarterhorses and a mini with a two horse slant? Fortunately, the wind did not change direction!

    Laura’s comments about an Evac plan has our family considering one now. And FHP is still looking for a blazing red pickup. Ha Ha

    Like the Lynns we appreciate and thank God for all the men and women that keep us safe.

    And YES, Lord, please bring the rain.

  7. Heather says:

    Thank you for keeping us posted on this fire. It is often hard to get breaking news since this is not a particularly populated neighborhood. Grateful to be able to sleep tonight without having to worry about a possible evacuation.

  8. Kristen When says:

    Yes, firefighters and pilots are amazing. I should know since I am married to a man that is both! Glad everyone is ok!

  9. B Stone says:

    Our home was one of the structures the firefighters saved. We are so grateful to all the firefighters, helicopters, airplanes and the deputies who were there to save our home. They are truly heroes to us. Not only all of Flagler County’s firefighters were there, I also saw some from Volusia as well. Our thanks to all of you!

  10. Bv says:

    I heard that the fire has started up again tonight.wondering if anyone knew of that was true? Thank you

  11. Justin says:

    We thank you for appreciating us firefighters! Kudos to all units that showed up tonigjt,paid and volunteers!

  12. Donna Peters says:

    God Bless all the fire fighters and keep them all safe as they work to save our homes and land….Amen

  13. Brian says:

    This is reporting that US-1 has reopened, but when I drove by around midnight last night, it had not. It appeared fire crews were also still on scene.

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