On Wednesday, a wildfire in Nassau County, Florida, which was caused by a man who was burning books, destroyed two homes
According to the Florida Forest Service, in what’s being called the Garfield Road Fire, only a few minor injuries to emergency personnel have been reported. It has burned an estimated 696 acres near Bryceville, almost 20 miles west of Jacksonville.
On Thursday, officials held a news conference where they said that the wildfire was 80% contained.
At the news conference, director of emergency management in Nassau County, Billy Estep told reporters that six other homes were damaged and at least 19 sheds and other structures were severely damaged or considered a total loss.
He added that firefighters will continue to work in the area for days and authorities will keep on watching the strong winds predicted for the afternoon to see how they may affect the fire.
Annaleasa Winter of the Florida Forest Service said on Wednesday night that the fire started when a man was burning paperback books. “It was an illegal burn,” she said, adding that it’s against the law to burn household garbage in Florida. “It was paper. It got away from him.”
Estep told CNN that the man’s intention was to burn some trash. He said “(It was) purely an accident.”
Winter said that the fired was fueled by windy conditions and spiraled to about five acres and began spreading out of control.
Precautions issued for the upcoming season:
Winter said that the man could be held civilly liable for any damage caused by the fire. Also he has been issued a notice of violation and will be sent a forestry bill for all the equipment and personnel used into fighting the fire, which could be several thousands of dollars.
The fire forced residents to flee their homes after wreaking havoc in the neighborhood
Winter said that this is the largest and most destructive wildland fire in Nassau County since 1998, “it’s been a long time since we’ve had an intense fire through the area,” she added.
In 1998, Raging wildfires across Florida caused one of largest wildfires losses in the United States, estimated today at nearly $600 million.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, a longer than normal fire season is anticipated across Florida, Texas and Oklahoma as warmer weather and drought lingers, this is why authorities are asking residents to comply with burn restrictions.