BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Back in March, local firefighters battled the largest wildfires in Bay County’s modern history. One scorched the areas along Star Avenue.

Bay County commissioners voted Tuesday to apply for a post-fire federal hazard mitigation grant to construct a new water main along that roadway.

“You know, as we went to all those wildfires, we were having to take tanker trucks and bring them in, so this is great protection for our neighbors that are in the northern part of the county,” Commission Chairman Robert Carroll said.

The project will add about 3.5 miles of a 16-inch water main, connected to water mains in Panama City and Callaway.

There would also be fire hydrants about every 1,000 feet.

The grant covers $1.5 million of the $4 million cost. The rest will come from utilities.

“That allows us to add more fire redundancy, adequate fire protection, increased pressures, and anytime we can interconnect all of our water systems, that keeps dead-end mains from occurring, but the main thing is for more fire protection,” Carroll said.

He said the new line will also reduce boil water notices, providing more opportunities to flush water lines with the new main.

It will also keep up with growth in that area.

“North Bay County is growing just as fast as it can go,” Carroll said. “And we want to make sure that we’ve got adequate water to provide service. But again, we keep going back to fire protection. We got to make sure that we have adequate fire protection to keep all those homes and those people safe.”

The county hopes to get the grant on December 2nd. If so, the pipeline project would be completed by the end of 2025.