Speed Reads

wildfires

Hundreds evacuated as wildfires spread in Florida Panhandle

Fire doesn't care about the COVID-19 pandemic, and a wildfire in Florida's Santa Rosa County exploded Wednesday, forcing at least 500 people to evacuate from their homes outside Pensacola, Florida Forest Service officials said late Wednesday. At least 18 homes have burned in the Five Mile Swamp Fire and the blaze forced the closure of part of Interstate 10. The fire started as a prescribed burn on private property Monday, but grew out of control as low humidity and high winds combined with Florida's below-average rainfall, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

There are two other fires burning in the Florida Panhandle. The Five Mile Swamp fire and a smaller one in Santa Rosa County are both 20 percent contained, while the Hurst Hammock fire in nearby Escambia County was 40 percent contained by Wednesday night.