Florida wildfire: 'Extremely dangerous and fast-moving' fires force evacuation of hundreds of residents

'All residents and travellers should heed evacuation request'

Hundreds evacuated as wildfires rage in NW Florida.mp4

Around 1,600 people have been forced to evacuate from their homes in Florida as wildfires continue to rage across the state's panhandle.

Firefighters have been working overnight to control the blaze which broke out in both Walton County and the neighbouring Santa Rosa County earlier this week.

“This is an extremely dangerous and fast-moving wildfire situation that is evolving rapidly, so everyone in the affected area should follow directions from state and local officials,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“All residents and travellers should heed evacuation requests and closely monitor the media for updates on the wildfire and reopening of I-10 and local roads.”

Some 500 people were ordered to evacuate in Walton County as the fire spanned to more than 575-acres, damaging at least 33 structures, officials said.

On Wednesday around 1,100 people had to evacuate their homes in Santa Rosa County as a 2,000-acre blaze also damaged a number of structures. Ms Fried said about 12 structures “have been lost to the fire.”

Residents south of Interstate 10 were recommended to evacuate however The Forest Service did not make clear how many people have been evacuated from the area.

The fire spiralled out of control and expanded 10 times in size due to high winds and low humidity according to the Florida Forest Service.

Fire and smoke rise from trees alongside a road in Santa Rosa County

So far, about 20% of the Santa Rosa County fire has been contained, while 65% of the fire in Walton County is under control, officials said.

The evacuation order will be in place until mid-day Thursday when it will be reevaluated, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a statement.

There have been no reports of injuries or deaths as a result of the fires.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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