Fires Approach County Line
Spot fires ignited from the flames in Bradford crossed the Alachua County line around 7 p.m., and by 7:30, firefighters began evacuating homes along County Road 1471, as more spot fires began popping up further south.
Ed Sanders lives in Southeast Bradford right on the County line, and even though he did evacuate his home with close to 700 other Bradford residents, he did not go very far. He said he had three reasons to stay in the area, his three bulldogs; he did not have enough time to wrangle them up and bring them with him, so he was going to stay in the area as long as possible.
"The house we can replace but the animals we've had for awhile," Sanders said.
Sanders was able to get some possessions out of his home before leaving, but others were not so lucky.
"I just have my stuff I brought home from school," Northeast Alachua County's Christine Crawford said.
Crawford's aunt noticed the smoke earlier in the day and started taking precautions right away, but she said she was skeptical it would make a difference.
"It's bad," Peggy Kowalski said. "I've got water hoses on my home. My mother's house, we put water hoses on it. The chances of losing everything are very, very high."
Aid workers established shelters for evacuees at the Bradford Middle School and the Waldo First Baptist Church, and officials said the need to evacuate more homes in Alachua County could increase.
"I would anticipate worse conditions tomorrow," Alachua County Fire Rescue's Megan Crandall said. "Not only will it warm up, but we're also expecting dusty winds and the relative humidity to drop."
Also dropping was Sander's outlook.
"This is the second time in a couple of years that we almost got burnt out," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen this time."
By Ted Latiak, WCJB, TV20 News.
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