JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Flames are burning, embers are flying, and smoke is billowing into the air in Nassau County.
Action News followed forestry crews as they set a prescribed fire at Four Creeks State Forest just west of Callahan on purpose Thursday night.
"The conditions are right for burning," says Forestry Area Supervisor Mike Work.
Over the past four days the Florida Forest Service has been rapidly issuing prescribed burn permits throughout Northeast Florida. Work says that was supposed to start last month.
"With the warmer weather in the last 20 days and the rain every two or three days, we needed a drying period and cooler temperatures to do dormant season burning."
Work says dry underbrush can be devestating during wildfire season, so every year his team attempts to burn 15,000 acres in Duval, Nassau and Clay counties before the spring. This year, they're way behind.
"Until Monday we only had 135 acres."
But conditions have finally changed. Cooler, dry weather made it possible to burn more than 2,000 acres in six northeast Florida counties during the day Thursday, including 15 at the University of North Florida.
The Nassau County fire was the only fire still burning Thursday night, despite a Friday forecast of 20 mph or more winds.
"Even though the winds are a little high and a little gusty, site specific it could be really, really well."
If other key factors - like temperature and humidity - stay consistent, Work says his team won't stop.
"We're going to rock on right on through until the weather changes and doesn't line up with our prescriptions."