The Phoenix Flyer

Eastpoint wildfire victims file for state aid as relief efforts continue

By: - July 5, 2018 7:45 am

Residents in the wildlife-ravaged town of Eastpoint, south of Tallahassee, have filed 89 claims with the state for aid in emergency living expenses –  for up to $5,000 per household. A controlled burn by a state forestry management contractor went out of bounds two weeks ago, racing over 800 acres and destroying a big chunk of the town – at least 36 homes.  After the June 24 disaster, the state suspended its prescribed fire program statewide and launched a review.

Meanwhile, Floridians are rushing in to help. A GoFundMe campaign, organized by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, has raised over $100,000 since June 25 to help now-homeless families.

The controlled burn – a common practice in Florida –  was intended to manage invasive and nuisance plants. State agencies burn hundreds of thousands of acres every year because native forests are ecologically dependent on fire. The Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement said the cause of the Eastpoint tragedy was a prescribed burn by Tallahassee-based Wildlands Fire Service, Inc., which had a contract with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to manage land.

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CD Davidson-Hiers
CD Davidson-Hiers

CD Davidson-Hiers is a 2017 summa cum laude graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Creative Writing and French. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honors societies, and has received multiple writing awards for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Prior to joining the Florida Phoenix, CD worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and has bylines in Tallahassee Magazine. She is a native of Pensacola and currently lives in Tallahassee with her tabby cat, Faulkner.