JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It is not uncommon for prescribed burns to be carried out on the 4,000-acre land of Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park.
But yesterday the routine burn quickly got out of hand.
"There were some micro-climate kind of things going on around here yesterday that drove some humidities down unexpectedly and caused the fire to jump lines," said Bruce Hill, District Manager of the Florida Forest Service.
A permit for the burn was initiated by the Florida Park Service and according to the Florida Forest Service who authorized the burn, it was well within prescription for the burn to take place.
"If you look at overall conditions right now and looking at the park service burn plan and the weather parameters they look for, they were well within those boundaries," said Hill.
The fire came less than 100 feet from several homes just off Cedar Point Road. A total of five homes were threatened yesterday but no structures were damaged.
According to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, what happened yesterday was rare and prescribed burns are necessary.
"The reality is if we do not do a controlled burn then when they do catch fire they'll burn out of control and burn everything down including the houses," said Chief Martin Senterfitt of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
According to the Florida Forest Service, the Florida Park Service is ultimately responsible for the fire.
"It was their burn, we issued the authorization but they have the responsibility to maintain control of their fire," said Hill.
According to JFRD, the area could continue to smolder for two to three months unless our area gets a lot of rain.