Rainfall eases wildfire threat in Florida but officials urge caution

Wildfire, Florida, U.S.
Emergency officials are evacuating about 250 homes near Springfield as a fast-moving wildfire comes closer.(WJHG/WECP)

Rainfall has eased the wildfires threat across much of the Florida Panhandle in the US, but state officials said the volume of dead trees and vegetation left by a Category 5 hurricane in 2018 remains a risk for additional blazes.

Without additional significant rainfall, the debris left on the ground by Hurricane Michael will quickly dry out and serve as fuel for wildfires, the Florida Forest Service said.

In the meantime, firefighters are continuing to improve containment lines on the Chipola Complex fire and monitor any new activity.

The rain was a break from days of dry, windy conditions that had fuelled three wildfires in and around Bay County, Florida.

Over the weekend, residents were evacuated from 1,100 houses in Bay County, but more than half were allowed to return home on Monday.

So far, only two homes have been destroyed and another dozen damaged.

The fire that caused that damage, the 875-acre Adkins Avenue Fire, was 85% contained, fire officials said on Thursday.

Hurricane Michael left behind 72 million tons of destroyed trees that have provided fuel for the fire.

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