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7:00 PM UPDATE: Bay County emergency officials released an updated map including areas subject to mandatory evacuation.
The areas under mandatory evacuation include: the area between Transmitter Rd. and Star Ave. and south of Hwy 231 to US 98 (Tyndall Pkwy.) It also includes Bear Creek, area south of Scotts Ferry Rd. and east of Hwy 231.
The map also shows areas with active fires. The map is below:
Bertha Swamp Road fire 18:00 Update
Forest fire damage 6:00 p.m. update
5:30 p.m. UPDATE: Bay County and Forestry officials said they are bringing resources from across the state to fight two large wildfires that are threatening homes in the area.
On Friday, firefighters battled the Adkins Road blaze. As they continued to deal with this fire, an 8,000-acre Gulf County blaze, the Bertha Swamp Road Fire, grew so large it forced evacuations in the Bear Creek area of the county. of Bay.
“It’s a big, big fire,” said Brad Monroe, Bay County Emergency Services Chief. “We’re talking about 8,000 acres right now.”
He added that a lot of big equipment came from across the state. This includes Jacksonville Workgroups and Strike Teams, West Florida assets. And, 19 engines, six tank trucks and eight sweeper trucks are currently in service.
“I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to protect your home,” Monroe added. “We need your help.”
He urged residents to get out when an evacuation is called and not to return home until authorities deem it safe. A shelter is open to humans and animals at the Bay County Fairgrounds.
“We still have a very dangerous situation,” Monroe said.
Residents should call ahead if bringing large animals. The information hotline is (850) 248-6090. Dothan Agricultural Center is also available for large animals.
Current evacuation zones:
Pipeline Road to Dead End
Springfield area east of transmitter
Bear Creek Area: South of Scott’s Ferry Road east of Highway 231. South Bear Creek, North Bear Creek, Veal Road and Ed Lee Road area.
“There really isn’t much between the fire and the Bear Creek area to stop this fire,” Sheriff Tommy Ford said.
4:45 p.m. UPDATE: Bay County officials have issued mandatory evacuations for Ed Lee Road to Scott’s Ferry Road east of Highway 231.
Firefighters said the Bertha Swamp Road blaze passed through heavy trees downed by Hurricane Michael. He is six to eight miles southeast of the evacuation zone and throws spot fires ahead of him.
County and forestry officials urged those in the evacuation zone to leave now.
“This is a very, very rapidly changing situation,” said Bay County spokeswoman Valerie Sale.
Those needing information can call (850) 248-6090. People with special needs or who are housebound and need help evacuating can call (850) 248-6030.
A pet-friendly shelter is open at the Bay County Fairgrounds.
4:00 PM UPDATE: Residents of Ed Lee Road and Tree Farm Road are under mandatory evacuation.
Law enforcement is on the ground, firefighters and law enforcement are on the ground in the area as the #BerthaSwampRoadFire moved to Bay County.
Governor Ron DeSantis has extended Florida’s state of emergency to include Calhoun and Gulf counties.
3:45 p.m. UPDATE: Bay County officials have issued a mandatory evacuation for parts of Springfield and are urging residents in the Bear Creek area to be prepared to leave if a Gulf County fire spreads through the area.
Evacuees can go to the Bay County Fairgrounds and pets are welcome. Dry weather and windy conditions cause wildfire problems across the Panhandle. A barn burn is in effect for most counties in the region.
“These fires are increasing because of the dry weather,” county spokeswoman Valerie Sale said.
The Gulf County fire is known as the Bertha Swamp Road Fire and was being monitored by Gulf County officials. He was in an unpopulated area and was not a problem earlier in the day, but began threatening Bay County homeowners, officials said.
“We are watching this very closely,” Sale said. “It’s about 10 miles.”
Bay County has set up a hotline for people to call about the wildfire: (850) 248-6090
You can watch the full interview below.
3:00 PM UPDATE: ANY SPRINGFIELD EAST OF THE TRANSMITTER IS SUBJECT TO AN IMMEDIATELY MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER. EVACUATES CAN GO TO THE BAY COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS. Pets will be welcomed.
Due to the potential threat posed by the #AdkinsAvenueFireall persons located in the city of Springfield east of Transmitter Road, south of US 231 and north of Tyndall Parkway are urged to evacuate immediately.
12:00 UPDATE: BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – According to AlertBay, Bylsma Estates is under mandatory evacuation.
Law enforcement is going door to door in Bylsma estates due to heavy smoke and embers. If you have not evacuated, you will be asked to do so.
11:00 AM UPDATE: PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was joined Saturday morning by state and national leaders to provide an update on the 1,400 acre fire in Bay County.
The group of leaders praised firefighters and first responders for their efforts on Friday to save lives and homes.
“You never want to evacuate your home, but because of what they’ve done, most of these people are going to have homes to go back to,” Governor DeSantis said.
He added that state resources, including the Florida National Guard, were ready to deploy to Bay County if needed. He added that the Hiland Park Baptist Church shelter is pet-friendly and if anyone else needs to evacuate, they should feel comfortable bringing their critters.
He also warned drone operators to refrain from flying while workers continue to fight the blaze.
State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, who also serves as the state’s chief financial officer and is responsible for regulating insurance companies, urged residents affected by the fire to step forward and begin the insurance claims.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried also praised forestry workers and first responders.
“We know we saved a lot of homes last night,” she said.
A burning ban is in effect in Bay County and authorities have urged residents not to burn anything, including anything as small as an outdoor cooking fire.
“Please, please, please don’t burn in your backyards.”
Sheriff Tommy Ford urged evacuees to be patient as firefighters and foresters continue to monitor the blaze. Ongoing concerns about dry and windy conditions forced authorities to keep an evacuation in effect.
“We know that’s a huge inconvenience,” Sheriff Ford said.
He added that those who have not been evacuated but who live near the fire should be vigilant.
“We don’t need to be complacent,” Sheriff Ford said. “They must have a go-bag ready. As with yesterday, there was literally less than a minute to evacuate some of these areas.
Governor DeSantis also spoke to evacuees on Saturday when asked when they would be allowed to return home.
“Every time they say it’s safe,” he said. “But you don’t want to say, ‘Everybody come in’ and then you have to evacuate them again.”
Gov. DeSantis added that during a visit he and other officials made to affected areas, officials were able to see smoldering embers, “quite close to some homes.”
While Bay County residents can see clear skies Saturday morning, the wildfire looks far from over.
“We may be in for the long haul,” Ford said. “We are a resilient community and a close community. We take care of each other.”
Meanwhile, FEMA announced on Saturday that it has authorized federal funds to help fight the wildfire.
“On March 4, the State of Florida submitted an application for a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) for the Adkins Avenue Fire. At the time of the request, the fire threatened more than 1,000 homes in and around Bay County. The Adkins Avenue Fire began on March 4 and burned more than 1,400 acres of public and private land. About 2,500 people were evacuated,” they wrote. “FEMA Region 4 Administrator Gracia B. Szczech approved the state’s request on March 4 because the fire threatened to become a major disaster.”
8:00 AM UPDATE: PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Firefighters, forestry workers and dozens of first responders continued to battle a growing 1,000-acre wildfire in Bay County on Saturday.
Here are the latest updates:
Gov. Ron DeSantis is scheduled to address the public at 10 a.m., according to a news release from his office.
He will be joined by Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, FDACS Commissioner Nikki Fried, Congressman Dr. Neil Dunn, Rep. Jay Trumbull, Rep. Brad Drake, FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie , FDEM Bay County Executive Frankie Lumm.
News 13 will broadcast the press conference live.
8 a.m. update from Bay County Emergency Services:
The fire covers 1,400 acres and is growing. It is contained at 39%. More than 200 firefighters from across the begging are on the ground. The evacuation order is still in effect. Residents are not allowed to return home.
“Please be patient as first responders battle this dangerous fire,” officials wrote.
Drones should not fly near the fire as helicopters and planes are in the air fighting the fire. A burning ban remains in effect.