The 2,600 acres wildfire burning on Eglin range just north of Hurlburt Field is “60 percent contained,” according to Mike Spaits, environmental spokesman for Eglin Air Force Base.
The fire, which had been estimated to be 500 acres on May 29, had grown to 2,600 acres but has not grown further as of 6 a.m. on May 30.
“It’s pretty much stopped running,” Spaits said. “We had put black lines in and (have) done boundary work to keep it in place, right now the danger is gone; there is no threat to structures. We do feel that the threat has passed.”
The Okaloosa County Health Department and the Florida Department of Health have issued a press release regarding the smoky conditions in the air, urging residents who have respiratory issues to seek medical attention if they have trouble breathing.
“Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning plant materials. Fortunately, most people who are exposed to thick smoke will not have health problems,” the press release stated. “How much and how long a person is exposed to the smoke – as well as age and degree of susceptibility – play a role in determining whether or not someone will experience smoke-related problems.”
Spaits credits favorable weather conditions with assisting in keeping the fires from spreading.
“Between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., there is a weather phenomenon called an inversion,” said Spaits. “Our winds go down to a minimum breeze, if any at all. That, combined with other forces tends to force the smoke down, from being up in the higher levels of the atmosphere down to the ground levels and it also pushes it down the south and sucks (the smoke) out to the gulf and that’s why people experience smoke in the evenings through the a.m.
“When breezes start picking up again, the smoke blows up to the north and blows smoke up towards to Eglin range,” Spaits continued.
Eglin has dismissed the Urban Interface Task Force and is confident that the threat to structures and citizens has passed.
More on this story as it develops.