MILTON, Fla. (WKRG) — The Florida Forest Service sent an update Sunday evening saying both the 5 Mile Swamp Fire and Hurst Hammock Fire were 75% contained. We learned yesterday investigators believe the Hurst Hammock Fire was, in their words “human-caused” but we don’t know what may have caused it so far. According to a news release the plan for today is “to continue to keep the fire activity within the containment lines and continue with mop up operations.”
Forestry officials say 182 people have been assigned to these fires including air support. Because of the air support they implore people not to fly drones over these fires. Drones force forestry aircraft to land and slow down operations.
Here is an unedited news release from the Florida Forestry Service from Sunday:
MILTON, Fla. – Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters continued increasing and reinforcing fire containment lines and mopping up hot spots today. The 5 Mile Swamp Fire is 2215 acres and 75% contained. The Hurst Hammock Fire is 1248 acres and 75% contained.
5 Mile Swamp Fire and Hurst Hammock Fire:
Both fires stayed within the established containment lines today. Observed fire behavior was minimal, creeping, and smoldering throughout both fire areas. Crews continued to patrol neighborhoods and communities to identify hot spots and implement thorough mop up operations to extinguish the heat and smoke in those areas. There are currently 182 personnel assigned to these fires.
Operation plans for tomorrow is to continue to keep the fire activity within the containment lines and continue with mop up operations. Additional crews have been identified for initial attack to assist the Florida Forest Service – Blackwater Forestry Center on any new fires that may occur in their coverage area which includes Escambia, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa counties.
A Florida Forest Service fixed-wing aircraft referred to as an Air Attack continues to patrol both fire areas to monitor fire behavior throughout the day. There is also 1 medium helicopter assigned to these two fires if needed. Medium refers to the size of the helicopter and the size of the bucket used to make water drops. A medium helicopter has a 300-gallon bucket.
NO DRONES IN THE FIRE ZONE! A reminder that when you fly, we can’t! Launching your personal drones over the fire areas puts our air resources at risk. Wildland firefighting aircraft must land if drones are detected in their flight areas. This means that firefighting operations must be halted until the air space is clear putting firefighters, residents, and their homes at risk
Weather predictions for tomorrow are calling for a Fire Weather Watch. Relative humidity is predicted for 30%. Winds will be out of the north at 5-10 mph. Winds could possibly gust up to 15-20 mph. There is no rain in the forecast for the next 7 days. As the drying trend continues and temperatures increase, ground fuels (vegetation) will continue to dry. Needlecast, the dead and dry pine needles that fall to the forest floor after a wildfire moves through, is beginning to build-up on the forest floor of the fire areas. This creates additional available fuel for wildfires to feed on.