Flagler County is joining at least 21 other Florida counties with an open-ended burn-ban declaration, mostly as a precautionary measure as upwards of 100 fires burn statewide and the local drought index continues to rise.
flagler county wildfires
Twenty-one counties have a burn ban in effect, though for now that has not been declared in Flagler, where firefighters are on stand-by to assist battling forest fires in Southwest Florida if necessary.
A wildfire broke out behind the White Eagle Saloon Monday at around 2:30 p.m., scrambling fire units from around the county and reviving fears of a repeat of last year’s wildfires, which consumed large swaths of the Seminole Woods area east of the White Eagle. But the fire was out 40 minutes after it declared itself.
There are still two active wildfires in Flagler County–Espanola and Opossum–but they’ve lost their bite, and rains have dropped the drought index closer to normal for the rainy season. Still, it was a costly few months.
As winds begin to shift, bringing more drift smoke over Palm Coast, the Espanola fire keeps growing and out of county firefighters are rotating back home, though the Division of Forestry has taken over the Espanola fire.
While most fires have been “behaving” in the past 24 to 36 hours, one fire jumped its lines today, and the 3,000-acre Espanola fire remains the big worry as winds will shift beginning Sunday, pushing smoke, and maybe fire, south and east.
Flagler County is among a handful of regions in the United States facing extreme drought conditions. The burn ban is designed to stem what could be an active and dangerous wildfire season, starting much earlier than normal.