A raging wildfire continues its course through the Apalachicola National Forest Tuesday night. What is being called the east fork fire has already consumed over 2,000 acres.
If the weather holds and the winds die down, firefighters believe they will have it under control by Wednesday night. In the meantime, hundreds of firefighters from all over the southeast are helping battle the blaze.
Billows of smoke can be seen throughout the Apalachicola National Forest. A meticulous operation is underway. The east fork fire is gaining ground and mother nature is fueling the blaze.
The fire is centralized within the Bradwell Bay wilderness area. Firefighters say it will likely reach 9,000 acres before total containment.
The last time a fire burned through the area it scorched 34,000 acres in 1998. Just like then, firefighters are limited because this is a designated wilderness area.
Meanwhile, just two miles northwest is Smith Creek where some 200 residents live. Firefighters are hoping it won't reach the point of evacuation for the residents. With an air attack and over 100 hands digging lines, they're confident the east fork fire will be contained by week’s end.
Because there hasn't been any lighting and there's really no other ignition source for this fire, the Florida Division of Forestry is blaming the cause of the wildfire on a human. How the blaze was started is still under investigation, but the incident commander did say it could have been a cigarette or even arson. They hope to find the answer soon.