The fires signal the danger of somewhat dry conditions as lightning-rich storms keep rolling through. There are no plans to re-institute a burn ban in Flagler for now.
The still-rising costs don’t help the county’s budget, which is acing a $5.5 million revenue loss from dropping property values. Gov. Scott could have minimized the impact, but he refused to ask for a federal emergency declaration, though previous, lesser fires had gotten such a declaration.
Some 2.7 inches of rain fell in the Bunnell area, flooding streets and swales, but the Espanola fire got much less, if any, and fire officials are saying that the county is not out of the danger zone yet.
The four new lightning-triggered fires declared themselves between 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, including one in Favoretta and one across from Shell Bluff, on State Road 100, with more lightning and fires expected today.
Flagler County rallied with donations for its firefighters this month from individuals young and old, companies, churches, schools, political parties and others, whose generosity helped eased stresses of heat and overwork.
The National Weather Service was reporting the heaviest rains of the month–2 to 3 inches–smack in the heart of Flagler’s most severe fire zone, on the Espanola fire. That’s what the fire doctors had been ordering for weeks.
Two fires broke out off County Road 13, just west of U.S. 1, a small fire broke out on Colbert Lane, and another one off of Roberts Road.
Fire officials reported little but good news on Thursday as fire lines have been holding and chances of rain are increasing through the weekend. Audio of Thursday’s full news conference included.
There’s been three successive days of gains on the Espanola fire and elsewhere, with rain in the weekend forecast. The Division of Forestry is not letting up, however, as it plans to maintain a deployment of more than 200 firefighters in Flagler County.
Espanola fire boundaries and fire lines as of June 22, 2011. Flagler County, Florida. Division of Forestry map.