When a controlled burn in Daytona Beach crossed the containment line Wednesday, endangering homes and sending smoke everywhere, people wanted to know who was responsible and why the burn was done in such windy conditions.
Area residents went wild on the Daytona Beach Fire Department’s Facebook page, looking for where to blame.
Turns out it wasn’t the Daytona Beach Fire Department. It was also not the Florida Forest Service, although they issued the permit. The burn was carried out by a private contractor called Gold Coast Land Management, LLC of DeLand, according to Anthony Petellat, Bunnell District Director of the Florida Forest Service.
And the entrepreneur knew it would be a windy day.
The National Weather Service in Melbourne said on Thursday the Gold Coast had requested spot forecasts for weather conditions in the area where the burn was planned.
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The contractor received a forecast detailing wind conditions and said it would be a windy day, according to NWS forecaster Derrick Weitlich.
On Thursday, Gold Coast’s Troy Rentz asked a News-Journal reporter to send him a list of questions so he could answer them. The News-Journal complied but did not receive a response.
Founded in 2017, the company specializes in forestry and agricultural land management and provides in-house services to private landowners, according to its website.
Petellat said the burn permit was for 3,000 acres, but the contractor was burning a 500-acre block, with plans to move to another block, when the fire broke through the protection lines.
Daytona Beach Fire Department Deputy Chief Jessica Matthews said the brush fire, which the weather service said was fanned by winds gusting to 28 mph, pushed burning flames toward the community of Latitude Margaritaville around 1 p.m. Wednesday.