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. 

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.   

The Mussett Bayou wildfire is one of two major fires that has raged across Florida due to a period of drought. Recently, there have been 71 fires burning across the state.

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.

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.

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