Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wildfires Are under Control -- for Now

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wildfires Are under Control -- for Now

Article excerpt

ST. GEORGE -- A thick haze clung to the ground like a fog yesterday morning as police removed barricades that closed Georgia 121 between Folkston and St. George over the weekend.

Motorists driving into the St. George area for the first time since wildfires burned more than 8,000 acres saw smoldering hot spots that threatened to burst into flames again.

Those smoking tree limbs and trunks were the focus of an estimated 85 firefighters who remained on duty to contain two fires that forced the evacuation of more than 100 St. George area residents Saturday. Most were allowed to return Saturday night, and about 90 percent of the weekend fires were under control.

"It was very, very serious there for awhile," Charlton County Sheriff Dobie Conner said. "The wind was blowing so hard, we were running from house to house to tell people they had to get out now."

Two mobile homes and several small structures were destroyed, but there were no reported injuries, Conner said.

In Florida, a 300-acre wildfire closed a portion of U.S. 1 near Palm Coast yesterday afternoon. The fire was contained by mid-afternoon and the roadway reopened at 6 p.m.

The Flagler County fire started about 2 miles north of Bunnell and near Palm Coast communities hard hit by fire in 1998.

A fire west of the Cypress Knoll section of Palm Coast started about 11:30 a.m. and was contained at 4:40 p.m. In 1998, 51 houses in Flagler County were destroyed by fire.

No homes burned and there were no injuries in the fire yesterday, officials said.

Occasionally heavy smoke and a need to give emergency vehicles access to the fire caused firefighters to close a section of U.S.1 north of Bunnell for about five hours, said Bill Hodges, a state Division of Forestry supervisor. At one point, the fire jumped U.S.1, but only in one small spot, Hodges said.

The cause of the fire was unknown yesterday, though Hodges said the state Division of Forestry did have a control burn in the area several days ago.

A second fire about 10 miles southwest of Bunnell near Florida 11 was started by an escaped control burn and burned about 50 acres. …

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