YULEE, Fla. – With the Yellow Bluff Fire impacting traffic on major roadways in Northeast Florida, a gas station in Yulee has run out of regular gasoline and might soon be out of premium gas.
Diana Hixon, a clerk at the BP station on U.S. 17, said the business has been flooded with bumper-to-bumper traffic as the 450-acre wildfire rages near the Duval-Nassau county line.
"It's ridiculous right now. ... It's worse than a hurricane," Hixon told News4Jax on Friday morning. "At least in a hurricane, gas trucks can get through."
Interstate 95 was shut down in both directions Thursday afternoon, but authorities reopened northbound and southbound lanes to traffic late Friday morning.
Hixon said the gas station typically gets a refill every third day, except for on holiday weekends when it's every other day. The last delivery came in either late Wednesday or early Thursday.
"I spoke to the gas delivery guy at 7:30 this morning. He said we're fourth on the gas delivery route today, but I don't know how long it will take. It's just a waiting game," she said.
The gas station goes through an average of 1,500 gallons a day, Hixon said, but over the past 48 hours, the business has sold about 5,000 gallons. Between 3 p.m. Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday, Hixon tallied almost 800 transactions. She didn't anticipate things would slow down anytime soon.
She said business has been booming as drivers fill their tanks before the holiday weekend and out of concern they might run out of gas while stuck in traffic.
"We've been busy before, but nothing like this," she said. "I actually had to send my boss to go get cigarettes from Sam's Club."
Another worker, Kaelynn Hixon, said employees have been working around the clock trying to serve customers who need fuel and food -- or those who are just answering nature's call.
"It's just been, like I said, nonstop," she said. "Between the gas and the restrooms and, of course, food. Because really, this is the only place that really serves food on 17, which is the Subway and we've got the Circle K across the street."
Still, not everyone is feeling the pinch.
A manager at the Gate station located about five miles east on State Road 200 said the business is flush with enough gas to accommodate drivers who need to fill up.
"Gate is really good about making sure we have fuel here," she said. "I got two gas deliveries (Thursday) night at 11 p.m."
The same manager told News4Jax the station can get up to four deliveries a day, adding that the company closely monitors how full or empty the tanks are and routinely sends new supplies.
"If they come up about four or five miles up the road, we've got plenty of gas," she said. "I've got 20 fueling stations and four ethanol stations."
That was also the case at the RaceWay station located near the intersection of I-95 and SR 200, an employee told News4Jax. She said the gas station has roughly 11,000 gallons and 24 pumps available.
"We're pretty good," she said. "We've got plenty."