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Second wildfire moves into Bay County forcing more residents to evacuate

Bay County Emergency Services
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The Bertha Swamp Fire, which started in Gulf County, is moving into Bay County and putting homes in the Bear Creek area at risk.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Firefighters continue to work toward containing wildfires in Bay County as more residents are ordered to evacuate.

At a news conference this evening, the county’s Emergency Services Chief Brad Monroe described it as a “very dangerous situation.”

The Adkins Avenue Fire still covers about 1,400-acres and is 30% contained, the Florida Forestry Service reports.

Another fire — the Bertha Swamp Road fire — which began in Gulf County has pushed into Calhoun and Bay Counties. It now threatens homes in the Bear Creek area, where authorities have ordered residents to evacuate. “We have a large fire moving in that direction,” Monroe said. “The sheriff and I flew the area this afternoon. This is a big, big fire.”

The fire covers 8,000 acres and is 10% contained. “Forestry is going to make every effort tonight to try to stop the fire’s onward presentation,” he said. “We need you to cooperate with us and stay out of harm’s way.”

Evacuation Zones wildfire.jpeg
Bay County Emergency Services
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This map shows areas under mandatory evacuation orders in Bay County and the location of the wildfires.

Monroe says that heeding evacuation orders helps firefighters contain the blaze. “It makes our job a lot easier so we’re not trying to do rescues while we’re trying to fight fires.”

The shelter has moved from Highland Park Church to the Bay County Fairgrounds, at 2230 E. 15th St. The shelter is pet-friendly.

Authorities say residents who plan to bring animals to the shelter should call the citizens’ information line in advance at 850-248-6090.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.