MILTON, Fla. (WKRG) — A Santa Rosa County commissioner is blaming the Florida Department of Agriculture for a prescribed burn that got out of control last week, causing evacuations and burning nearly 200 acres in his county.

Commissioner James Calkins, who represents District 3 in Santa Rosa County, made the eyebrow-raising allegations at a meeting Monday night. Calkins blamed Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried and her political affiliation for the fire. The majority of Santa Rosa County voters have historically been registered members of the Republican Party.

“The head of the Florida Department of Agriculture is Nikki Fried. She’s the only Democrat in the state that’s in the cabinet,” Calkins said. “What happened in Santa Rosa County was intentional.”

Calkins was referring to a prescribed burn that got out of control Friday and burned over the weekend. At last check, the fire was 90% contained.

The Florida Forest Service, managed by the state agriculture department, approved a permit Thursday for the Northwest Florida Water Management District to complete the prescribed burn near Garcon Point Road in Milton.

Despite windy, unfavorable conditions on Friday, the water management district started the burn, and it quickly grew in winds near 30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour in the area.

The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday the Florida Forest Service asked for a “spot forecast” the night before the fire began. The weather service responded and stated there was a red flag warning, which means warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.

Residents near Garcon Point Road were forced to evacuate their homes, as the fire spread to about 200 acres. In the Sea Pines Neighborhood off Dickerson City Road, at least one home barely escaped the blaze.

Tuesday, the Florida Department of Agriculture released a statement saying the burn should have never happened and certified burners have a responsibility to adjust or cancel their prescribed burn if the wind or other weather conditions do not match the forecasted conditions.

“This situation should not have occurred. Our Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters put their lives at risk every day to protect the lives and property of the people of our state and have been nationally recognized for their prescribed burn program,” the statement reads. “Implementing that program safely and responsibly is critical to the integrity of a program that has protected our communities and natural resources for decades. On Friday, an investigation was opened into the prescribed burn and the actions of the certified burner. The Department’s top priority remains the safety of the people of Florida.”

Jim Lamar, a spokesman with the Northwest Florida Water Management District, confirmed the forest service is investigating what caused the fire to spread but would not comment further about why the agency would burn on such a windy day.

“They’re trying to burn our county down. I think it’s wrong. They saw the wind, and now they’re going running and denying it. This is why people don’t trust our government,” Calkins said. “They’re literally burning our stuff down on purpose.”

WKRG News 5 reached out to Fried’s office for a comment on Calkins’ claims. It responded with the following statement:

“Our Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters risk their own personal safety every day to protect Florida lives, property, and communities. To question their motives and politicize this situation is an insult to their service and sacrifices on behalf of their fellow Floridians. The claims being made are beyond the pale, and the fact that some would use this situation to push a false narrative and their own political agenda is quite frankly disgusting.”

Calkins has previously expressed out-of-the-box views. An hour after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot started, Calkins posted to Facebook saying, “Proud of our patriots. Stop the Steal.”

He said Tuesday he stood by his statements Monday night, calling on the fire to be investigated by an outside agency.

Santa Rosa County Commissioners agreed Monday night more needs to be done to prevent prescribed burns from getting out of control.