A fire that started as a controlled burn on a private property Friday had by Saturday quickly spread to western Flagler County and grown to nearly 1,000 acres, Fire Chief Don Petito said this morning. Residents in Northwest Flagler County breathed the effects of the fire all weekend, and residents in Palm Coast and the rest of the county could see the large columns of smoke rising over the western horizon Saturday and Sunday.
Most of the fire–about 800 acres–is in Flagler, but isn’t threatening any structures. But it has required a constant response from Flagler County Fire Rescue, Flagler County Fire Flight, and the Florida Forest Service. That response continues today.
“It looked like the Espanola fire, it was putting out that much smoke,” Petito said, referring to the 2011 fire in Flagler’s Espanola area that grew to over 5,000 acres. “It was ominous looking. ”
The fire burned about 210 acres in Putnam in the area of Roy Road, and was therefore dubbed the Roy Road Fire. Saturday, Petito said the northwest portion of the county was covered in ash and smoke.
The state Forest Service’s Gainesville District responded to the fire when it was in Putnam, and has continued to command the response even after the fire spilled into Flagler, which is in the Forest Service’s Bunnell district. But bulldozers and other equipment from both districts has been assigned to fighting the fire, Julie Allen, spokesperson for the Bunnell District, said. Allen said by late morning Monday that 75 to 80 percent of the fire had been contained.
“It’s actually way out there. The only thing that’s in that areas is trees, basically that’s it Not even hunt clubs,” Allen said.
Flagler County Fire Rescue had 10 firefighters on the blaze Sunday, and six on Monday, along with Fire Flight, which was dousing the fire in water from the air. The fire is a reminder that despite recent rains, conditions remain brittle and dry, favoring wildfires that can quickly spread.