A massive wildfire in three Northwest Florida counties has doubled in size
The Bertha Swamp Road Fire in Bay, Gulf and Calhoun Counties is 28,109 acres, growing from 14,000 acres on Monday afternoon.
Update at 10 a.m. CST:
State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried briefed the public this morning on three wildfires in Bay County.
"I'm confident that these wildfires will not break our spirit or our commitment to continue to work together and to protect our communities," said Fried, speaking at a news conference at HG Harder's Park in Panama City on Tuesday morning. "We are all in this together."
The Florida Forest Service's Blue Incident Management Team is overseeing a unified command of forestry personnel, local law enforcement, local firefighters from across the state and national guard service members working to put out three wildfires that comprise what's known as the "Chipola Complex."
"We're all here together to protect our lands, to protect our homes, but most importantly to protect you."
More than 70 bulldozers and 10 aircraft are working to put out the blaze.
"When you've got this much timber that's still on the ground, all it takes is one small spark. And that's what happens.
Update at 9 a.m. CST:
Firefighters continue working to contain three wildfires in Bay County, with the largest fire doubling in size over night.
The Bertha Swamp Road Fire is now estimated at 28,109 acres, up from 14,000 acres on Monday afternoon. It remains active in Bay, Gulf and Calhoun Counties. It's 10% contained.
No additional mandatory evacuations are expected in Bay County due to this fire anytime soon, but residents in Gulf and Calhoun Counties are urged to monitor the Facebook pages of their county sheriff's offices for possible evacuation orders.
The Bertha Swamp Road Fire pushed further north into Calhoun County overnight, Florida Forest Service (FFS) officials said.
The Adkins Avenue Fire is 875 acres and 50% contained and the Star Avenue Fire is 250 acres and 60% contained.
A unified command of firefighters from across the state, national guard service members and state forestry personnel is working under the FFS's Blue Incident Management Team.
More than 70 tractor plow units and 10 aircraft units are working to put out the blaze.
The aircraft unit working to put out the fires, according to the Florida Forest Service's latest update:
- 2 FFS helicopters
- 2 FFS fixed-wing aircraft
- 2 Florida National Guard Black Hawk helicopters
- 2 Florida National Guard Chinook helicopters
- 2 Southeastern Compact single-engine air tankers (SEATS)
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