Fire Ravages Panhandle Oystering Community

A panhandle Oystering community suffered a devastating loss when a Fire in Eastpoint FL broke out on Sunday, June 23. More than 30 homes were destroyed when a prescribed burn raged out of control and ravaged this small town. The widespread fire moved rapidly in the early morning, giving residents mere moments to escape with their lives. An estimated 200 people are now displaced as a result of this tragedy. Many lost all that they owned.

Residents suffered a devastating loss due to a Fire in Eastpoint FL

It’s a hard life in Eastpoint. Most residents are seafood workers who perform the grueling task of tilling the bays for oysters. For so many years the bay system has products the world’s best oysters. Although it has allowed the community to thrive, it has been plagued by disasters. Over recent years, floods, the oil spill and water-control disputes have overwhelmed this small town, making the hard living on the sea even harder. Many had to choose between paying for insurance and putting food on the table, which has made the impact of this fire all the worse.

The people of this and neighboring communities have come together to help as best they can, but even this resilient bunch have been dealt a blow that seems insurmountable. Day by day, however, they go on about the business of helping each other clean-up, rebuild and get back to work. These folks are some of the toughest, kindest and hardest-working people you’ll ever meet. Perhaps there’s a reason for the many tests they’ve faced. For now it’s plainly obvious that Eastpoint could use some help.

Whether you’re an oyster-eating angler like me who appreciates what small towns like this offer our society, or if you’re just moved by the human impact of this event, so many would greatly appreciate your help. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is spearheading relief efforts to assist with housing, clothing, food and even boats so these folks can get to work. The campaign has gained momentum, and we ask that you help keep it going.

Helping Residents affected by the Fire in Eastpoint FL

If you’d like to contribute, go to their Gofundme site at

You may also mail your contribution to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office 270 SR 65 Eastpoint, FL 32328. You can make checks payable to FCSO charity fund. For more information, contact Ginger Coulter at (850) 670-8500.


Randy “C-Note” Cnota is co-publisher of the Panama City/Forgotten Coast edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. He is also owner of C-note Charters in Panama City, Fla. Check him out at


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