An arrest was made concerning the Musset Bayou fire in the Florida Panhandle. The Office of Agriculture Law Enforcement (OALE) Florida arrested Allen Smith from Santa Rosa Beach on Tuesday for reckless burning. The wildfire in Walton County began May 5, and burned through 343-acres of land, destroying 59 homes.
According to police, a warrant was issued Tuesday for Smith's arrest. He allegedly ignited the fire by not properly extinguishing a barrel fire on his property that he was using to burn prohibited materials.
The flames lit the surrounding dry vegetation and tore through the county. The wildfire burned for days on end and devastated a massive portion of the Panhandle.
Smith was booked for one count of reckless burning of lands, a second-degree misdemeanor, one count of open burning requirements, a first-degree misdemeanor, and the burning of illegal materials, another first-degree misdemeanor.
He is currently being held in Walton County jail, and his bond is set at $5,000.
Tonight, @WCSOFL and our Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement arrested Allen Smith of Santa Rosa Beach in the… https://t.co/zf5BW3oz0I— Commissioner Nikki Fried (@Commissioner Nikki Fried)1589330274.0
The fire burned through acres of wildlands and homes. Officials determined the cause of the fire through a series of investigations and interviews, which led them to Smith's property.
🚨WILDFIRE UPDATE🚨 @FLForestService crews are in day 3 of suppression efforts on the #5MileSwampFire. Additional fi… https://t.co/rVJdVGeJHQ— FL Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (@FL Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services)1588794304.0
On May 4, the Five Mile Swamp Fire in Santa Rosa County raged across approximately 2,300 acres and forced thousands to evacuate their homes, according to Pensacola News Journal. Firefighters were able to contain the swamp fire from growing more massive and spiraling out of control during the weekend.
“Recklessly burning illegal materials puts lives, lands, and property at risk. When that occurs, it’s our responsib… https://t.co/4OGXe396Up— Walton Co. Sheriff (@Walton Co. Sheriff)1589330462.0
Most of Florida is experiencing a lack of a rainy season, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Like the Panhandle, parts of Central and South Florida are abnormally dry, verging on a drought.
*Right photo used for illustrative purposes.