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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Fire Forces Evacuation of 600 Homes in Florida Panhandle

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Residents in 600 homes in the Florida Panhandle were evacuated as a wildfire destroyed two houses and damaged 12 others, in an area that has spent the past three years recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael, officials said Saturday.

Hundreds of thousands of acres (hectares) of downed trees from the 2018 hurricane, along with low humidity and strong winds, have created “the perfect storm” for the hazardous fire conditions in Bay County, Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference outside a church in Panama City.

“This is not a surprise,” DeSantis said.

More than 200 firefighters and emergency workers from throughout the Florida Panhandle worked overnight to strengthen containment lines and protect homes. As of Saturday morning, the 1,400-acre (567-hectare) Adkins Avenue Fire was 30% contained, according to the Florida Forest Service.

The agency has deployed more than a dozen tractor plow units as well as multiple helicopters, officials said in a news release.

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