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Firefighters battle two wildfires in Fountain

Bay County

FOUNTAIN, Fla. (WMBB) – Florida Forest Service and Bay County Fire Rescue are working to contain two wildfires on Timbercrest Road.

According to the Florida Forest Service, the ‘Timbercrest Road West’ fire is currently at 105 acres and is 60 percent contained. Multiple homes on the opposite side of Timbercrest Road are being protected by Bay County Fire Rescue.

The ‘Timbercrest Road East’ fire is 84 acres and is 75 percent contained. The Florida Forest Service has two tractors and a wildland brush truck establishing additional containment lines.

“What we’ve seen lately is we haven’t had any rain in three and a half weeks and we don’t see a whole lot in the forecast,” Chipola Forestry Center Manager Mike Mathis said. “So all this timber debris is on the ground and rotting and it makes it hard for us to get our big equipment into the fires to put containment lines around and it’s drying out really quick.”

Firefighters said the fires were started by an outside contractor doing a prescribed burn in the area, which got out of hand.

The Florida Forest Service has responded to more than 14 wildfires in the past week and four in total on Monday.

“The drying conditions is kind of normal. Springtime it doesn’t tend to rain. It seems like it’s a little early in March that it hasn’t rained in a while. April, May, June is our true fire season and we’re getting started on it early this year,” Mathis said. “What makes it difficult is a lot of this hurricane debris that’s down which makes it hard for us to access.”

Officials are recommending residents be extremely cautious with any outdoor burning including campfires, and outdoor grilling. At this time, authorizations are not being issued for large pile burns and acreage or broadcast burns in Bay county as well as surrounding counties.

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