Wildfires burning north of Hurlburt Field are causing low visibility for drivers and concern for local citizens as smoke billows into the local area.
“The areas that are currently burning total approximately 500 acres with 10 percent containment,” said Mike Spaits, environmental spokesman for Eglin Air Force Base. Spaits also said that all Jackson Guard resources are working in close coordination with Eglin and Hurlburt Fire Departments, and a command structure has been established in case structure protection or evacuations are needed.
“Eglin's Mobile Emergency Operation Center (MEOC) has been activated,” said Spaits. “We have a Bell 206 helicopter doing bucket drops and have a Sky Crane helicopter from the U.S. Forest Service that has arrived and will be dropping water on the fire shortly.”
Spaits said that while the helicopters will not stop the fire, they can protect firefighters on the ground and can “cool down hot spots that can throw firebrands.”
One quarter mile spotting has been observed from the fire,” Spaits continued. “There are two creeks that the fire will have to cross before it threatens any structures, so we are hoping the creeks will hold.”
The fire is creating smoke in the areas of Florosa and Fort Walton Beach. Motorists should use caution this evening and Wednesday morning due to potentially low visibility.
More on this story as it becomes available.