Officials from the Bay County Emergency Operations Center say the large fire Saturday was a controlled burn, and the wildlife biologist responsible for the fire does have a burn permit.
Authorities say 1,300 acres of land are being burned in a project to restore the West Bay Preservation Area.
The burn took place near Thomas Drive and Back Beach Road between Big Daddy Drive and Arnold High School.
Jim Moyers, a wildlife biologist, said, "Fire is a natural component of these ecosystems, and we use fire as a management tool to return that natural component to the ecosystem and we use it as a restoration tool."
And you can expect to see more fires like this one in the area over the next few years.
Moyers says this was just one of five phases of the controlled burn. There will be a similar restorative burn in the Steelfield area, which is scheduled for the middle of next week.