Last Updated: 8:54 p.m.
8:54p: for a story and a photo gallery of what turned out to be the miracle on Sligo Mill Court today, please go here.
6:02p: Palm Coast firefighters have just finished mopping up the fire at Slippery Rock Place in Seminole Woods. The firefighters used their new, massive ladder truck to dump volumes of water on the lot in front of a home. The lot of palmettos and pines, which burn like gasoline, was scorched, all the way up to the porch of the house, yet firefighters were able to save the house, and three or four others on a nearby street, in what looked like another miracle. Here’s what the scene looked like moments ago:
5:56p: The water drop on the Espanola fire was not necessarily from the Guard helicopters alone, but from a 3,000-gallon air tanker flying in from Lake City, according to the Division of Forestry’s Todd Schroeder. The Black Hawks were used against the Route 40 fire.
5:05p: The Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters that just arrived this morning to help–three of them–will be in the air, dropping water on the periphery of the Espanola fire. You might hear them. They’ll be filling their bambi buckets from a water pond near the Espanola fire.
4:54 p.m. Alert: We have this update from all around the county, in an afternoon turning out to be another serious challenge to the firefighting operation: The Espanola fire at the moment is in the midst of another break-out, making a massive run toward its northeast.
A fire near the intersection of U.S. 40 and State Road 11, in Volusia County, is also leaping, and spreading into Flagler County as well as Volusia.
Every fire and rescue employee in the Flagler County Fire and Rescue Department is on duty at the moment. Five units from St. Johns County Fire Department have arrived at the county’s Emergency Operations Center’s staging area, which is the main staging area for Flagler, and where the Division of Forestry took over management of the fires from the regional incident management team that had been overseeing matters for the past eight days. Units from Jacksonville have also returned here to help.
4:22p: Another minor problem area was spotted in the same area where a break-out happened last week, between Sloganeer and Squash Blossom. A patrol was being sent to those culd-de-sacs that mobilized firemen last week–Squashbush, Squanto Place, Squadron Place, Squaw Court, all off of Squaw Place–to check for spot-overs.
Alert, 3:52p: Flames about 5 feet tall were being reported at 22 Sloganeer Trail, some 20 feet from the house there, on the south side of the loop. The spotting was not seen as a threat nearly as serious as that earlier this afternoon.
2:58p: The south side of the fire (on the north loop of Sloganeer Trail) is under control for now. Fire Flight was reporting that the fire looked under control throughout.
This latest break-out exemplifies the difficult logistical conditions firefighters are battling in addition to the fires: resources are stretched thin through the majority of 22 active fires in the county, and Flagler County sent a strike force to Volusia yesterday to help with a massive fire there. That strike force is on its way back.
2:50p: The fire is still burning well, but away from homes. Evacuations will not take place. Residents will be allowed back to their houses shortly.
2:46p: Fire Flight was reporting that the most dangerous part of the fire was knocked down.
2:35 p.m. alert: The White Eagle fire took a turn for the worse Wednesday afternoon just after 2 p.m. when a wildfire started crowning–one of the most dangerous things a wildfire can do, by running across the tree canopy rapidly–and spotting just south of Seminole Woods Boulevard, in the areas between Sloganeer Trail and Sligo Mill Court, along a dry canal bed.
Homes were in danger. Firefighters were requesting that the water pressures be increased in the area as much as possible.
Volunteer firefighters from stations 31, 71 and 81 were summoned to the county’s Emergency Operations Center as firefighters from several agencies were being mobilized to battle the break-out fire.
Firefighters were summoning structure fire-fighting engines to protect homes on Sloganeer. The Division of Forestry was sending in bulldozers. The fire jumped the canal bed in the area, which is very dry, on its way to threatening homes as it ran toward Sloganeer Trail.
[This is a developing story.]