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Santa Rosa wildfire now 67% contained

The Florida Forest Service will take over management.

Following a five-day battle that drew fire crews from across the state, Santa Rosa County Emergency Management announced Saturday it will withdraw fire equipment and personnel from the area and leave command to the Florida Forest Service.

“Santa Rosa County has always had a strong working relationship with our state and regional partners,” said Public Safety Director Brad Baker. “We appreciate their timely and tireless support and we would like to thank everyone who pitched in to help — from firefighters on the ground and in the air, to the staff manning the citizens’ information line, to the restaurants providing meals for our evacuees.”

The changing of the guard highlights the progress fire crews made over the weekend. Assisted by high winds and low humidity, the wildfire that once peaked to roughly 2,400 acres remained at 67% containment as of Monday morning.

A Santa Rosa County damage assessment found 27 buildings including 14 residential structures were destroyed in the blaze and seven other residential structures were damaged. In all, the county estimated $1.9 million in residential structure damage.

No residents or first responders were injured during the fire, according to Santa Rosa County.

The blaze, which started when a controlled burn escaped from private land, was fueled throughout the week by high winds and extremely low humidity. The size and vastness drew a statewide response from more than 20 agencies.

Santa Rosa County officials urged residents to remain mindful that Florida remains at the peak of wildfire season.

As of Monday morning, there were 79 active wildfires in the state consuming roughly 7,800 acres.

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

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