There are currently two wildfires raging in this area of the Florida Panhandle, one in Walton County just north of Choctawhatchee Bay and the other in Bay County just a few miles east of here. It is believed that embers blown south from the Walton County fire ignited the second blaze near the coast.
All of Florida is experiencing severe to moderate drought. Our particular region has a large entrenched dome of high pressure sitting over us that, along with extremely low relative humidity, has created a favorable environment for wildfires. A steady and dry northerly wind has been fanning the flames and as of this writing the Bay County fire is burning on both sides of U.S. Hwy. 98 and into residential sections of the small resort community of Panama City Beach (where seven homes have burned as of this writing).
I just happened to be heading home from a trip to Shell Island today when my vehicle was diverted off Hwy. 98 due to smoke and flames along the roadway. I did have my camera along and took some pictures to share which y'all.
It sure did remind me a lot of where I had just moved from.