The Wildfires of 1998- June 1998
The summer of 1998 brought national attention to the Sunshine State as thousands of acres across the state burned in what became the worst wildfire season in recent memory.
On June 14th, 1998, Jacksonville's west side erupted into flames as hundreds of firefighters responded to fight massive brush fires. The following week and a half would be a busy one as Jacksonville Firefighters stood their ground against the largest fire storm in the history of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Not a single structure in Jacksonville was lost.
Things in Jacksonville had settled down by July 1st, but the same could not be said for Flagler and Volusia Counties in north central Florida. Thousands of firefighters from all over the nation descended on the Daytona area as massive fires jumped Interstate 95 and raced towards the Intracoastal Waterway. The fires forced the evacuation of over 35,000 people from the region and canceled NASCAR's Pepsi 400.
NY Daily News: Friday July 3rd, 1998 :: Enter the Wildfires of 1998 Gallery (Coming Soon)
Fire Storm 1998 By the Numbers
Number of Fires: 2,100+
Number of Evacuees: 120,000 est.
Number of Shelters: 8,300+
Toll: 100 injuries, 3 deaths (elderly while being evacuated from nursing homes)
Acreage Lost: 467,391
Property Damage: 376 homes and structures (none in Jacksonville)
Damage Estimate: $300 Million (mostly timber)
Cost to fight fires: $133 Million