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As of 7:30 pm CST, the fire was 250 acres and 60% contained, but officials said the initial containment posed quite a challenge as high winds caused the fire to jump over Highway 79.
“We had some strong winds earlier today and it spotted over,” Monroe said. “The wind picks up the embers from the fires and spreads it throughout the area and with these dry conditions we had spot fires and that’s what we’re seeing across the highway there on the east side of 79.”
Chief Monroe stated that a team will remain in place overnight to monitor the fire.
Authorities are encouraging people to use extreme caution when burning outdoors during the increasingly dry conditions over the next month.
Interview with Chief of Emergency Services Brad Monroe:
3:00 PM UPDATE: Bay County Sheriff’s Officials have called for a voluntary evacuation of homes along Vinson Road. They added that the fire is officially named the Steelfield Fire and was at 265 acres as of 3:30 p.m. The fire is moving northeast. A map of the evacuation zone is below.
Highway 79 is no longer closed due to the Steelfield Fire.
Florida Forest Service stated on their Twitter that 7 medium tractors, 1 heavy tractor, 1 airplane, and a helicopter is currently responding to the Steelfield Road Fire located off of Highway 79.
Voluntary Evacuation Map: