ALTHA, Fla. (WMBB) – A 90-acre fire broke out in Calhoun County. There was a mandatory evacuation for those living near Dogwood Road and Lake Lillian Road.
The Mossy Pond volunteer fire department was called out to a forest fire around 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1.
“It’s red flag conditions,” said Florida Forest Services Forestry Operations Administrator Michael Klassen.
Officials say a tent caught fire in the wooded area behind Dogwood Road. The combination of dry grass and wind caused the flames to spread quickly.
“So we have low relative humidity combined with really strong winds and that which is causing erratic fire behavior, lots of spots that we had to catch. And, you know, it’s just it’s really dry,” Klassen said.
Authorities believe the fire started when a man living in the tent lit some kind of fire to stay warm.
“Some of them living in a tent out in a wooded area. And we believe maybe a candle fell over something that might have been warm in the tent where then and unfortunately got burned severely we had to fly him out of here,” said Calhoun County Sheriff Glenn Kimbrel.
Officials say the unidentified man was airlifted to a hospital in Gainesville.
Then around 2 p.m., there was a mandatory evacuation for residents on North West Dogwood Road and nearby Lake Lillian Road.
“We estimated somewhere around 50 people were evacuated,” Klassen said.
That evacuation order was lifted around six p.m.
“We don’t anticipate any further evacuations,” Klassen said.
Florida Forest Service officials say the 90-acre fire was 50% contained by Wednesday night.
“They’ve laid some fire lines. They’ve dropped some water from the helicopter. And I noticed they just loaded some of their tractors up. They’re moving out at a total of seven tractors on the ground plowing,” Kimbrel said.
The volunteer fire department, Florida Forest Services, Calhoun County Emergency Services, and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office worked together to contain the blaze.
Officials say the fire is stable Wednesday night and crews will be on scene to monitor any flare-ups.
Florida Forest Services will return first thing Thursday morning.