Florida’s Santa Rosa & Escambia wildfire destroys least 18 homes, hundreds evacuated

Hundreds of people were evacuated and at least 18 homes destroyed as emergency teams battled wildfires in Florida’s Santa Rosa and Escambia counties on May 6.

According to local news reports, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning on May 6 as three fires burned in northwest Florida.

This footage shows smoke billowing from the Hurst Hammock Fire as seen from Ramsey Beach in Escambia County.

In nearby Santa Rosa County, fire crews worked to contain two fires, the largest of which was the Five Mile Swamp Fire. According to the Tampa Bay Times, it started as a prescribed burn at a private property on May 4 before growing out of control. It had burned 2,000 acres as of May 6 and was only 20 percent contained.

Local news reports said high winds and low humidity helped the fire grow.

Evacuation orders were expected to remain in place for areas of Santa Rosa County until at least noon on May 7. Credit: Teresa Hill/Studio 850 via Storyful