SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Mussett Bayou Fire destroyed 34 homes in the Walton County area, now community leaders and members are working to recover and provide relief for those affected.
Several guests joined News 13 This Morning to discuss how the area will move forward, and how others can help in a time of need.
Jeff Goldberg, Walton County Emergency Management Director, said there are multiple ways people can donate or find ways to help.
Anyone looking to donate supplies can email firstname.lastname@example.org and explain what they would like to donate, that way Emergency Management can match donations with the current need.
For monetary donations, visit the Matrix Community Outreach Center online.
News 13 This Morning also heard from Lt. Dustin Cosson with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, who said law enforcement is encouraging anyone who does not have property in the area of the destruction to do their best to keep away from those spots at this time.
Cosson explained the sheriff’s office is assisting those who have lost their homes as they return to the properties and work to find other housing.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office also was in charge of evacuating residents from areas where the fire was heading, running door-to-door to alert residents of the danger.
As far as the fire’s current containment, it sits at 90 percent contained with 343 acres affected. Mike Mathis with the Florida Forest Service told News 13 This Morning they are allocating resources to the area in order to get the fire completely under control.
The Florida Forest Service, along with South Walton Fire District, emphasized the importance of Walton County residents and anyone else under a burn ban, to avoid burning anything outdoors at this time.
South Walton Fire District Chief Ryan Crawford explained current weather conditions will cause fires to spread quickly and get out of control.
Many counties in the Panhandle remain under burn bans, including Bay, Walton, Jackson, Holmes, Franklin, Gulf, Washington, Calhoun, Liberty and Okaloosa counties.