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Two wildfires in the Florida Panhandle are now 95% contained, forest service says

<i>Gregg Pachkowski/USA Today Network</i><br/>Trees knocked down by Hurricane Michael are charred in a hot spot that recently burned in the Broad Branch Community as rangers and firefighters from throughout the state continue to battle wildfires in Calhoun County in Florida near Panama City on Wednesday
Gregg Pachkowski/USA TODAY Netwo
Gregg Pachkowski/USA Today Network
Trees knocked down by Hurricane Michael are charred in a hot spot that recently burned in the Broad Branch Community as rangers and firefighters from throughout the state continue to battle wildfires in Calhoun County in Florida near Panama City on Wednesday

By Dakin Andone, CNN

Two of three wildfires making up the Chipola Complex Fire in Florida’s panhandle are 95% contained, after the trio of blazes scorched more than 34,000 acres, Florida’s Forest Service said in a final update on Twitter Saturday.

Firefighters brought both the Adkins Avenue and the Star Avenue fires into 95% containment after they grew to a combined 1,000 acres in Florida’s Bay County, which includes Panama City, per the update. The Bertha Swamp Road fire, the third wildfire comprising the Chipola Complex and the largest in the state, remained at 60% containment after burning 33,131 acres, the forest service’s update said.

The forest service said its update on the blazes Saturday would be the final update “barring any substantial changes.”

Fire officials credited much-needed rain in recent days as a principal factor in improving firefighting conditions and getting the blazes under control.

The wildfire had threatened the same parts of Florida battered by Hurricane Michael in 2018, which left behind an “exponential volume of dead trees and vegetation” which helped fuel the wildfire, the Florida Forest Service said in a news release Thursday. The storm claimed at least 36 lives across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia in 2018 after making landfall as a Category 5 storm.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis called Michael the “the storm that keeps on giving and giving,” saying last week the wildfire’s path matched that of the 2018 storm.

As of Friday there were nearly 70 wildfires burning a combined 36,000 acres across the state, per the forest service, which asked residents to use “extreme caution” to prevent more.

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CNN’s Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.

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